4th week in Lent, Tuesday – 21st March 2023 – Ezekiel 47,1-9.12; Jn 5,1-3a.5-16
In the first reading, the prophet sees water flowing from the base of the temple in Jerusalem. As the prophet walks along the little stream of water gains volume and flow. It becomes ankle deep, then knee deep, then waist deep, then a huge river which can only be crossed by swimming. The water keeps moving. It flows from the south and east sides of the temple down the steep valley toward the southeast and eventually down to the Arabah and finally into the Dead Sea, the salt waters where nothing will grow. As the water flows out in the parched and barren land to the southeast, it gives life to all sorts of plants and animals that are nearby. As it becomes a river, a force of water flows into the Dead Sea to refresh and renew all that is in it. Water signifies great blessings and a symbol of life that God gives to all creation. Here the image of miraculous water flowing from the house of God gains power and truly gives life and healing. The power of the water is such that, as it flows into the Dead Sea, the lowest (1,300 feet below sea level) and incredibly salty (about 35 percent), the sea flourishes with fish, and fruit trees of every kind growing along its shores. Literally, this imagery highlights that the river not only gives life but will “heal” the waters of the sea.