Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Lent
(Ezekiel 47:1-9.12; John 5:1-16)
For eons humans have searched for the fountain of youth. They sought that spring of water that reverses bodily deterioration to keep its bathers forever young. Americans recall how Juan Ponce de Leon, the Spanish governor of Puerto Rico, traveled to Florida hoping to find such a place. Both readings today testify how the fountain of eternal youth has long been discovered in the religious tradition.
Ezekiel speaks of the Temple waters as providing for both sustenance and healings. Life-giving water flows from its bowels to irrigate the barren countryside. The land in turn yields not only fruits to enjoy but medicinal foliage that cure. The gospel passage, taken from John’s gospel, shows how Jesus surpasses the capacity of Temple waters to heal. His blessing of the paralytic waiting by those waters enables the man to walk.
Of course, the difference between the legendary fountain of youth and the springs of living water in Scripture deals with our conception of wholeness. Humans will look in vain for ways to overcome the inevitability of death. Christians have found the way to transcend death in Jesus Christ. Now that Lent has begun its final chapters we want to cling ever more closely to him.