March 15, 2020

3 Lent 2020

Passage: Exodus 17:1-7; John 4:5-22

Heal our dryness God of the waters.  Salve our parchedness God of the rocks. 

Make soft and fertile our hard and cracked hearts, O Jesus, bestower of living water.  Amen.


This woman has been abused and used.  She is also used to being alone at this ancestral well.  Don’t come when all the other women come for they will only stare

and tease, laugh at her life.  Better, safer to come at noon.  It might be hot but it’s low-risk.

Moses is abused and degraded.  Leader of some of the most stubborn people hard-headed they are.  And thirsty.  It’s not like there is rain every day, not even once a week.

Desert dry, parched ground, thirsty bodies, angry spirits.  All rolled into one tribe.  So they blame Moses.  He’s the one who brought us out here into this land of nothingness.

It’s HIS fault…  What they have already forgotten is the celebration of freedom, the gathering in Egyptian jewels, the riotous joy at going somewhere, not stuck in some mud pit or rock pile.  But they are thirsty and no one seems to care, so freedom and joy are left behind in Egypt and now it’s complaining about the lack of everything.  They are feeling the desert in both body and spirit.

Water…  we all need it, we all clamor for it when parched, we all seem to think it’s always there for when we need it.  But what about water for the spirit?  The woman Jesus encountered is thirsty and parched for companionship, for understanding, for respect.  Which is what Jesus gives to her.  Which is what he should have denied her

according to custom and Jewish prohibition toward Samaritans.  She is off-limits to any good Jew but not him. Cares not for custom, ignores decrees, sets aside all kinds of good status quo.  She had come to the well looking for water; he had come for the same reason.  Both of them ended up with water, with spirit, with deep joy, with knowing love.

She is the one woman who speaks with Jesus as one theologian to another.  Questions,

comments, religious dialogue, knowledge that would be reshaped, deepened into the heart.

That is not so with Moses and his beleaguered tribe.  They don’t question, but complain.

They don’t comment, but gripe.  They don’t want to know more of God but live in deep-seated fear of coming too close.  And their hearts will not be reshaped as many will die in the desert for lack of faith and unwillingness to believe.

What about us?  Where are we dry in spirit needing that living water Jesus offers?

Do we reside in unbelief never quite accepting God will give what we need when we ask?  Jesus continues to be thirsty for humanity, far more than his thirst at Jacob’s well.

He thirsts for humanity to accept his greatest gift that of life and love and blessed quenching.  On the cross he will say he thirsts; but not only for a bit of water to slake his raging thirst.  Jesus thirsts still for all of us who thirst for life, real life, to be forgiven, made whole, free to live as God intends.  He gave this woman what she did not know

she was looking for.  He does the same for us if we will give him that opportunity.

This season of Lent, this season of penitence and fasting either for or from, what are you thirsty for  that Jesus can give you?  This Samaritan woman is all of us.  We are afraid of being exposed to others, we are afraid of being exposed to God.  We keep our secrets safely hidden away, yet here she is with her life unveiled and exposed and rejoices in such an encounter.  Might we be that woman this Lenten season?  Might we go before God through the love and acceptance of Jesus and receive that thirst-quenching presence?  Might we find Jesus at our own wells, tired and weary of our own burdens even as she carried her burden of a water bucket in the heat of the day?

Might we find water for our souls as the Israelites found water from a rock that supposedly had none?  We think God works in certain ways, but both these Scriptures say otherwise.  Moses is tired and weary but finds water by listening to a strange command.  Jesus comes to the well thirsty yet he is the one to quench.  Jesus offer his living water of presence, of love, of acceptance, of grace.  Come to the well, find your soul’s thirst refreshed.  Amen.

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