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March 12th, 2023: 3rd Sunday of Lent

When I became the pastor of a large parish, I soon found myself, for the first time in my life, riddled with anxiety, headaches, difficulty making decisions, and fatigue. I called a therapist friend and told her my symptoms and asked if she thought I needed a serious medical exam. She said, “How much water do you drink?” I told her, “I haven’t had time to drink water lately.” She responded, “You’re chronically dehydrated. Drink eighty-five ounces a day and call me in a week.” I started guzzling water and in a week all my symptoms went away. I felt great.

Like me, the people in the Exodus wanderings were dehydrated. But unlike me, they knew it. Their symptoms were bad. They fight with each other. They accuse God of being a monster who wants them and their children to die of thirst. Their thirst drives them to plot the bloody assassination of the man who rescued them. God responds by using Moses to strike a rock from which rivers of living waters flow to quench their thirst for years to come.

The Holy Spirit is the living water of love which flows from the pierced side of Jesus, the new Moses. What symptoms in your life suggest you’re spiritually dehydrated? Anger at God? Cynicism at your leaders? Bitter rivalry and bickering with others? Don’t panic. Of course we have those symptoms. Ask God to provide his water to quench your spiritual thirst, and he will. And all those symptoms will soon disappear.

— Father John Muir



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