The World is a Wedding

The World is a Wedding

Third Sunday of Lent. Fr. Alan O’Sullivan preaches on the encounter of the woman at the well with the Messiah. 

The world is a wedding. So it is written in the Talmud (no, not The Tablet, silly!).

The human quest for God begins in the soul — even before birth — from the moment of conception, would you believe? We seek God because that is how he created us — creatures made in his own image and likeness.

The desire for God is written in the human heart. We are created by him, but also for him. As the psalmist writes,

Like a deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God. (Ps 41)

The search for God is universal. Every human heart seeks God, but God is not outdone — he also seeks us. He draws us to himself like a thirsty woman going to fetch water from a well. She is going about the sixth hour when the sun is high in the sky…noon. She is a woman of Samaria — a pagan place!

She is surprised to find a Jew there, already waiting by the well, without a bucket. He says to her, “Give me a drink.” She is startled by this gesture. “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria? The romance begins…

The woman is a world of her own — a universe of the heart, thirsting for love, looking for it in all the wrong places! She has had five husbands, and the one she has now is not her husband. Somewhere love has died — along the way, her bucket is empty.

Love comes to meet her at the well — the thirst of the Father coming to meet us in Jesus Christ! [quote]If you knew the gift of God and who it was saying to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.

The world’s greatest romance is the thirst for God! In the words of the prophet Hosea,

Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.

Jesus is the tenderness of God coming to meet us the well. The human heart is made for his love, above all other loves! He is the Lover, the Bridegroom of the Church who comes to meet the woman at the well — each one of us — thirsting for God!

Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water?

Her heart is struck by his words. He begins to reveal her to herself — the dryness of her soul without God, the emptiness within not quenched by other loves. He begins to tell her of the nature of his love:

Everyone who drinks this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

It is an eternal love; it never ends! As Isaiah prophesied:

Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come! Buy corn without money, and eat, and, at no cost, wine and milk! (Is 55:1)

The waters of God’s thirst flow through the heart of Jesus Christ! The woman at the well has met the heart of love! She will never be thirsty again:

Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?

She has entered the bridal chamber. She has found what she was looking for all her life.

He thirsts for our love. The woman has met love — love who would hang upon a cross that she would never thirst again, that she might have eternal life with him in the Father’s house. It is a wonderful love — a love the world has never known and it is yours in Jesus Christ! Come to the waters and never be thirsty again.

The world is a wedding. The heart of Jesus Christ is the love of the Father made visible to us. He has come to bring us to the wedding banquet. Are we willing to give him one drop of our love, to enter into relationship with him, to begin to draw water from the well who is Christ?

Readings: Exo 17:3-7 | Rom 5:1-2,5-8 | John 4:5-42

fr. Alan O'Sullivan is a member of the Irish province of the Order of Preachers who studied at Blackfriars, Oxford, from 2000 to 2002.