Third Sunday of Lent

The Introduction 

Still waters run deep! The well in Samaria may have been dug down to a level of 200 feet below the grade of the town, but it was not as deep as the water which Jesus speaks to the woman that day. Jesus is a wellspring of living water, leaping up to eternal life. Now that’s deep.

Water talk in the Bible is always significant, because the Middle East is one large desert with a few important rivers running through it. Water determined everything biblical: where cities are built, if the people prospered or languished, who would win a battle, whether life could go on. The best way for an enemy to defeat you was to destroy your well or cut off your access to it. Then victory was only days away.

Jesus and the woman both know, better than we do in a land where water is on tap, that water means life. We know that the woman drinks deeply of the message Jesus gives her when she leaves her water jar behind at the well. She experienced exactly what he told her: that if she listened to him, she would never be thirsty again. What does water mean to you?

What does your experience of water teach you about the life that Jesus offers?

The Scripture (John 4:13 – 14) Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life’.

The Connection

First impressions last. When we meet someone for the first time, we immediately begin to weigh him or her up. We pick up the signals. Is the smile sincere? Is the person loud or timid? Is their character confident, happy, interesting? Is this person worth knowing?

Some people seem able to gain an accurate impression of an individual after only a few seconds, whereas for many of us those initial impressions can prove very wide off the mark. We all know at interviews how those first moments can be decisive in creating a good impression. So we prepare carefully: we dress appropriately; we make sure of eye contact with our interviewers; we give a firm, confident handshake; we smile, just enough; we make sure we remember our interviewers’ names. We try to communicate the kind of person that we are, and hope that this will be what is wanted. A favourable impression might well tip the balance and get us that job, or win a contract, or gain a new friend.

When Jesus met the woman at the well, they both made fairly quick assumptions about each other. The woman was instantly able to see that Jesus was a Jew, and her natural expectation was that he would not want anything to do with her. In this, her first impression was wrong.

The Commissioning

You bring us to our senses, Loving God.
Open our ears, O God; your Word will engage us.
Open our eyes, O God; your opportunities will be clear to us.
Enlighten our minds, O God; your purpose will be revealed to us.
Touch our hearts, O God; your compassion will be a part of us.
Infuse our spirits, O God; your loving Spirit will transform us. Amen. 

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