Prayer before reading:
Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear you,
To receive your Spirit,
To be led by your Spirit.
Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.
Season of Lent: Week Three
As we enter the narratives in John’s gospel, we hear few parables, but we do hear extended conversations which people have with Jesus. Last week we listened in as Jesus entered into conversation with Nicodemus, a Pharisee, in the deep of night. This week it is high noon, the hottest part of the day, and Jesus – tired out after walking north all morning (towards Galilee)—sits down beside a Jacob’s well in Samaria. A Samaritan woman comes to draw water there.
As you sit beside the well, listen to the lively exchange between Jesus and the woman.
The scripture reading from Exodus gives us a window into how vital water is in this hot climate.
This Old Testament narrative leads us to God for provision of water. In this New Testament narrative and conversation, Jesus asks the woman for water. But then he goes further – and offers her water that only he can give: water for the soul. He is directing her attention to the deeper thirst which she – all humankind have – for God. She has been seeking to assuage that deeper thirst in a series of marriage relationships, but without success. Now Jesus offers her living water, the presence of the Holy Spirit – God within: the way home to God. This is the deep inner mending of the death-dealing divide which happened in Eden. We have been absent from ourselves, others, and God ever since. Now Jesus offers the way back.
Like the Israelites – who cannot believe that God is present with them – we may overlook the presence of the Holy Spirit around and within us. Admittedly, the Holy Spirit has been the victim of a lot of “bad press” in the last few decades. But here Jesus is offering us a fresh way of knowing and seeing how God comes to indwell us: a well of living water, like an artesian spring, now within us, quenching all of our inner thirst – for always. This is now short-term satisfaction that lasts only a week or two, and then fades from sight and needs to be replaced by some thing else. Rather, this is the love of God poured out within us through the presence of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:1-11).
What a contrast! The woman accepted Jesus’ offer. And called on all the villagers to hear about it too.
Lent is the season when we are called to reflect on those things which we hold, look to, depend on, to satisfy our inner longings. Jesus calls us to loosen our grasp on those things, and to receive the gift of living water which only he can give.
During this week, as you listen to Jesus and the woman in conversation at the well, reflect on what it is that you hold on to in order to satisfy the deepest thirst which only God can satisfy.
As you are so moved, simply ask Jesus to give you the living water.
3/21 Monday: John 4:5-26
3/22 Tuesday: John 4:27-42
3/23 Wednesday: Psalm 95
3/24 Thursday: Exodus 17:1-7
3/25 Friday: Romans 5:1-11
3/26 Saturday: John 4:5-26
3/27 Sunday: John 4:27-42