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Which Water Heals?
Gospel Reflection for March 21: John 5:1-16
I am struck by the theme of water between the reading from Ezekiel and the Gospel today. We hear of Ezekiel’s vision of the Temple, the plans God has for salvation. From the Temple, water is flowing out from the altar to the east:
“Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live” Ezk. 47:9
In the Gospel we find a lame man who has been seeking new life through the healing waters of Bethesda. He’s suffered his illness for many years, hoping to be healed through the waters at this pool, which have healed others. How many of these years might this man have become despondent and utterly hopeless, yet still he remained with the hope that he might one day receive such a healing and renew his life.
This past Sunday we heard about the man who was cured of his blindness through Jesus’ healing touch with his own saliva and dust, and further by the washing in the waters of the pool of Siloam. The previous Sunday was the story of the Samaritan woman receiving Jesus’ life-giving water.
What a wonderful thread to reflect upon: Jesus as our life-giving water! His life flows out from the Temple to the land, and “wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh” Ezk. 47:8.
There is a double implication here for us - we come to the Temple, to the Church, to be immersed into his life-giving water and made fresh. We renew this immersion when we participate in the Church’s worship. Through our own baptism, we are made into his Temple from which his life-giving water flows. We are sent out so that wherever we go, “the sea shall be made fresh.”
Do I truly believe that I can be a channel of God’s life-giving water for others? I must admit this is challenging; having been baptised, what is blocking me from embracing this gift of salvation fully? Perhaps it is tied up with whether I, like Jesus, seek out the lost to share this living water. The life of Jesus within me will flow most unhindered when I can keep my hope alight and share the joy of salvation with those who are in need.
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