Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
(Ezekiel 47:1-9 and12; John 5:1-16)
“Food grows where water flows.” The agricultural lobby posts signs in rural highways with such messages as this. They remind the public that we should not take water for granted. It may fall from the sky, but often costly government programs have to preserve and channel water if it is to nurture life.
Both readings today illustrate the life-giving power of water. In the reading from the prophet Ezekiel the Temple waters flow to produce abundant plant and aquatic life. We should see this water as a kind of grace that provides both nutrition and healing for God’s people. In the reading from the Gospel of John the crippled man cannot avail himself of the Temple waters so Jesus heals him directly. Jesus becomes a more reliable fount of grace than the Temple waters which stir only intermittently and whose effectiveness fades.
Jesus is present to us in many ways but especially through the seven sacraments. Partaking in them, we receive his Holy Spirit who builds up everlasting life in us. We should avail ourselves of the Eucharist at least weekly, of Reconciliation regularly, and of the other five as the occasion calls for them.