Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Lent
(Ezekiel 47:1-9.12; John 5:1-16)
Water has been long associated with healing. Hindu pilgrims come in myriads to the Ganges River in hope of cures. Western believers imbibe the spring waters at Lourdes praying for a miracle. Natural baths the world over have devotees seeking their medicinal effects.
The reading from Ezekiel today manifests the healing power of the Jerusalem temple by describing it as the source of water. The liquid begins as trickle emerging from its threshold and quickly grows in volume. As it leaves the structure’s confines, it becomes a torrent that irrigates fruit trees providing both food and medicine. In the gospel Jesus shows his ability to cure as ever more efficacious. He instantaneously heals the sick man who lacks the wherewithal to plunge himself into the temple waters.
We may see Jesus as a kind of river of plenty. Like the Ganges, he heals us of infirmities. Like the Nile in Egypt, he provides us the means for sustenance. Like the Mississippi in the United States, he transports us home.