Watching for the morning of March 23
The Third Sunday in Lent
The human body can go a long time without food, but not long at all without water. It means life for Israel in the desert; it is also means life for the Samaritan woman and her village. But the life that finds the Samaritan woman and her village is not an enduring supply of running water; it is the eternal spring of life that flows from God and wells up within those who are united with God in Christ Jesus.
Sunday we will hear about Israel in the wilderness and the water from the Rock, water that flowed from Mt. Horeb (Mt. Sinai) where God will speak to all Israel. The voice of God is the living water that sustains us in the wilderness, in our journey into freedom, into the promised land.
The Psalm will sing praise and yet warn us of the danger of rebellion, for the water from the rock came to a people who had turned against God in their thirst. How easy it is to go from praise to bitterness and resentment. Before them, Moses feared for his life.
But Romans reminds us that “while we still were sinners Christ died for us,” and “while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son.” God is not deterred by our rebellion. He comes to save.
And so we come to the woman at the well, and Jesus’ scandalous approach to a scandal-plagued woman, to bring her the water of an imperishable life, to make her a member of God’s household – and with her, her whole village.
The Prayer for March 23, 2014
Almighty God, Holy and Tender,
who spoke to the woman at the well
as a daughter of your own household:
Grant us to seek and find the Water of Life
which is your Word made visible in Jesus your Son
The Texts for March 23, 2014
First Reading: Exodus 17:1-7
“The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” – Following their deliverance at the Red Sea, and having been wondrously provided with manna for food as they journey towards Mt. Sinai, Israel now rises up against Moses for the lack of water. In answer to Moses’ plea, God provides them water from the rock.
Psalmody: Psalm 95
“O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” – A psalm calling the community to praise God warns them also: “Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,” referring to the place from the first reading where Israel rebelled against God and where God provided water from the rock.
Second Reading: Romans 5:1-11
“God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” – Paul speaks of suffering, endurance, character and hope – hope that is not mere wish, but the confidant look to the future – for the God who justifies sinners, the God who reconciles us while we ere yet enemies, will bring us to that day when all things are made new.
Gospel: John 4:5-42
“A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’” – Left alone by his disciples at the well outside of town at midday, Jesus transforms the life of a Samaritan woman who comes to draw water.