The Third Sunday of Lent, 15 Mar 2020 – Exodus 17:1-7, Psalm 95, Romans 1:16-32, John 4:5-42 ~ Jesus: The wellspring of eternal life.

The Third Sunday of Lent

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Collect for Purity:

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“Psalm 95: ‘Come let us'” – Half a Mile

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Gospel Reading: John 4:5-42 (NLT)

Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.

“I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”

Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.”

But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.”

“Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other.

Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

Many Samaritans Believe

Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”

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“Savior Of The World” – Newsboys

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 -Prayers of Intercession:

Almighty and merciful God: hear our prayers for the Church and for the world – we pray

+ For the peace of the whole world, and for the well-being and unity of the people of God – bind us together in love….

+ For all throughout the world who proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ his hope and help – speak words life abundant and eternal through them….

+ For all throughout the world who disciple new believers baptizing and teaching them to obey – empower them to be shining examples of your love and light….

+ For our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world who are persecuted for their faith – strengthen them and deliver them from evil….

+ For our nation and those in authority, especially President Trump and those battling the corona virus pandemic – give them wisdom and sound judgement….

+ For those around the world who are sick and needy, suffering the effects of the corona virus – heal them and provide for their health and recovery needs….

+ For those who have departed this life in the certain hope of the resurrection, especially those who have succumbed to the deadly effects of the corona virus.

Heavenly Father, grant these our prayers for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
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“Christ Our Hope in Life and Death” – Praise And Harmony Singers

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Closing: Romans 1:16-32 (NLT)

I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.

As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
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+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

3rd Sunday of Lent: Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-15,19-26, 39-42 ~ wellspring of life

3rd Sunday of Lent

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentence and prayer:

During Lent, many people all over the world look forward to their baptism, while those already baptised prepare to renew their promises.

O God, living and true, look upon your people, whose dry and stony hearts are parched with thirst. Unseal the living water of your Spirit; let it become within us an ever-flowing spring, leaping up to eternal life. Thus may we worship you in spirit and in truth through Christ, our deliverance and hope, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, holy and mighty God for ever and ever.

A Reading from the Old Testament: Exodus 17:3-7 (NLT)

"Moses Striking the Rock and Bringing Forth the Water" Marc Chagall, 1887-1985 Musée du Message Biblique Marc-Chagall Nice, France
“Moses Striking the Rock and Bringing Forth the Water”
Marc Chagall, 1887-1985
Musée du Message Biblique Marc-Chagall
Nice, France

But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”

Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!”

The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.

Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?”

A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9 (NLT)

Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
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Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care.

If only you would listen to his voice today!
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The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness. For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw everything I did.
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A Reading from the Letters: Romans 5:1-2, 5-8 (NLT)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
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And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

A Reading from the Gospels: John 4:5-15,19-26, 39-42 (NLT)

The Samaritan Woman He Qi
The Samaritan Woman
He Qi

Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
_____

“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming — indeed it’s here now — when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming — the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!”
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Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!”

When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Intercessions:

Gracious and merciful God, hear my prayers on behalf of Your people.

+ For baptised believers around the world – that they may appreciate the gifts that are theirs through Your indwelling Spirit….
Lord, hear my prayer.

+ For adults and children preparing for baptism – that the prayer and support of their faith community may encourage them….
Lord, hear my prayer.

+ For all who thirst for meaning and truth – that they may experience Your revealing grace in Jesus Christ….
Lord, hear my prayer.

+ For poor tribes and nations, where water is scarce – that believers may supply the help they need in their fight against thirst….
Lord, hear my prayer.

+ For the people around the world who thirst for justice and essential human rights – that believers may work for the dignity of all….
Lord, hear my prayer.

+ For my own faith community, and particularly for people in any kind of difficulty – that this Lent may teach me to be a true friend of those in need….
Lord, hear my prayer.

+ For those who have died and those who mourn their loss – that their thirst for life without end may be satisfied….
Lord, hear my prayer.

O God, we are Yours, You lead us by the hand: send the help we need, we pray, through Christ our Lord. Amen

Spiritual Song:I’ve got a river of life

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Morning Prayer, 23 Jan – John 4:31-45 ~ come to the well

Morning Prayer

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentence – Chad of Lichfield (?-672)

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.

On Your path, O my God, and not my own, be all my journeying. Rule this heart of mine that it be only Yours.

Morning readings

John 4:31-45 ESV:

Jesus and the Woman at the Well.  German image, circa 1420
Jesus and the Woman at the Well.
German image, circa 1420

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

After the two days he departed for Galilee. (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

Reflections / Prayer:

Sowing and reaping

Jesus’ disciples are to reap the harvest of what others have sowed and labored over. Their ministry is dependent on that of earlier laborers – all those through whom the Father has been accomplishing his work, the work that is now coming to a perfect completion in Jesus.

This ministry of the disciples is an extension of Jesus’ own work — doing the Father’s will by the presence of the Spirit and embodying and proclaiming the eternal life available in Jesus, the one who completed the Father’s work.
(The IVP New Testament Commentary Series)

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The harvest

The faith of the Samaritans who went out to see Jesus goes from being based on the woman’s testimony to being based on their own experience. They had heard about Jesus, and now they needed to hear him for themselves.

The lesson: our faith also must be based on hearing Jesus for ourselves, not just on hearing about him. These Samaritans have seen no deeds of power, no signs, but have come to have faith in Jesus.

We hear about Jesus as we read the Gospels in the light of the insight the Spirit has provided to the church, but we must come to the well ourselves to meet him through the means of grace he provides.
(The IVP New Testament Commentary Series)

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True worshippers

The Samaritans want Jesus to stay with them for two days. The initial religious barrier that had kept the woman from Jesus has broken down… they are not put off by Jesus’ origin.

The Father is seeking worshipers from among the Jews but also from the whole world… and, in the presence of Jesus, these Samaritans come to believe that he is the Savior of the world.
(The IVP New Testament Commentary Series)

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Phillips Brooks (December 13, 1835 – January 23, 1893) Episcopal Church, Boston, MA

“The danger facing all of us – let me say it again, for one feels it tremendously – is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel that life has no meaning at all – not these things.

“The danger is that we may fail to perceive life’s greatest meaning, fall short of its highest good, miss its deepest and most abiding happiness, be unable to render the most needed service, be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God – and be content to have it so – that is the danger.

“That some day we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with the husks and trappings of life – and have really missed life itself. For life without God, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him, is unthinkable, impossible.

“That is what one prays one’s friends may be spared – satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has in it no tingle and thrill which come from a friendship with the Father.” – Phillips Brooks

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Canticle:

Christ, as a light… illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield… overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.

Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

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Peanut Gallery: A brief word of explanation – the general format for Morning Prayer is adapted from the Northumbrian Community‘s Daily Office, as found in Celtic Daily Prayer (see online resources here.) The Scripture readings are primarily from the Gospel of John, with the intent to complete the reading by Easter. Other Scriptures which illuminate the Gospel of John will be included along the way.

Reflections from various saints will be included as their memorial days occur during the calendar year.

On Sundays, I’ll return to the USCCB readings (see online resources here) and various liturgical resources in order to reflect the Church’s worship and concerns throughout the world.

Photo illustrations and music videos, available online, are included as they illustrate or illuminate the readings. I will try to give credit and link to sources as best I can.