Good morning everyone and I hope you are well. If you are struggling with the things you have given up for Lent don’t worry you are half way through. The reading this week is about Jesus asking a Samarian woman for water and all the connotations that involved. It is a very long reading, but paints a picture of Jesus’ mission in the world to everyone.
As many of you know I am at the moment on a placement at another church for a few weeks and it has been very interesting and lovely to meet other people, As a foreigner to their church they have welcomed me with open arms and included me in everything they do and they have different events during the week when they can get together to discuss the bible or learn more about prayer or just connect with God, very much as happened in todays story.
Today’s intercessions are by Mike Haslam and the reflection is by myself.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Lord, direct our thoughts and teach us to pray. Lift up our hearts to worship you in truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly; love mercy and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
ROMANS 5. 1-11.
Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. Glory to you O Lord.
JOHN 4. 5-42.
Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’ (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ 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 woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’ Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is 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 labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’ Many Samaritans from that city believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for 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 truly the Saviour of the world.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
A very long reading with such a lot in it. Firstly Jesus meets a Samarian woman at Jacob’s well, not really unusual as at this time it was a woman’s job to go and collect the water and draw it from the well, it would appear that Jesus had no bucket or vessel to collect the water from the deep well, but especially significant is that he asks a single woman who is a Samarian to get it for him. It also is revealed during the reading that she is of ill repute having had many male partners. So an enemy of the Jews, a discredited woman and a non Jew. Of course Jesus is showing us that anyone can come to God and from the reading last week about Nicodemus all can be reborn spiritually to God.
The second part of the reading concerns the disciples who had gone to look for food, they came back and find him talking to the woman and wonder why he is even entertaining what she says. However she is totally taken by what Jesus tells her and knows all that she is done, she acts as his disciple and spreads the word to all in the village that the Messiah has come to speak to them.
Jesus tries to explain that he does not need this earthly food because everything you need will come from God, he talks of those that work or labour for the food like the sowers and those that just take from their hard work like the reapers. This to me shows the ways of the world – some are givers and carers and others are takers and expect help, almost like the Jews who understood they were the chosen people and the Samaritans who were accepting that they were unworthy.
Jesus has shown that we are all worthy but we have to do his work and be his disciples at all times and not just wait until it is easier for us. Once again the Samaritans are showing us the way.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated on the right hand of the Father; he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
During the intercessions, we pray for the church, our country, our government, people in difficulty and those who have died. You can use your own prayers or if you prefer here are some on today’s theme
Loving God, you created us and gave us imaginations as well as free will, hear the prayers that we offer to you today, listen to our thanksgiving for the love you show us and help us with those things that bring worry and concern.
Holy God, give us eyes to recognise, as Jesus did at Jacob’s Well, the true spiritual thirst in the people around us. Help us all to respond to those spiritual needs through our worship, our outreach and our social activities.
Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer
Creator God, we thank you for the example of leadership given to us by your Son and pray that this example will inspire all leaders to work tirelessly for the betterment of their people and that through good government and governance the day will be hastened when all of your world has enough of the basic essentials and comforts of life.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer
We pray for our families and friends and all the security, comfort and joy that they give us. We also acknowledge and pray for children caught in a family breakdown with all the worry and upset that it might bring to young and unprepared lives, and for their parents who are struggling to make the right choices for those they love.
Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer
Heavenly Father and Lord of life, we pray for the gift of courage to face up to and cope with illness. We pray for it for ourselves, and for those known or unknown to us and especially.
Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer
Merciful God, we commend into your hands those who have departed this life. You gave them breath and loved them through their journey of life. Receive them now at the end of that journey into your eternal presence and may they rest in everlasting peace. We pray for the souls of Mildred Gerrard and Brenda Pearson and from our book of remembrance Douglas Robert Anderson and Alice Thompson.
Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer
Everlasting God, in so many ways you have taught us that you alone can be trusted, even when it might seem that you are far away from us. Help us to remember this fact and feel your loving presence as we go from this time of worship and return to our everyday lives, walking obediently in the light of your truth in all that we do this and every day.
Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the Kingdom the power and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself, may the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in our service, the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our hearts and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us and those who we lve now and forever. Amen.