Sunday, March 19, 2017

Today's readings and reflection

FIRST READING  (Exodus 17:3-7)
The people thirsted for water, and they murmured against Moses, and said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?" 

So Moses cried to the Lord, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me."

And the Lord said to Moses, "Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink." 

And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the faultfinding of the children of Israel, and because they put the Lord to the proof by saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?"

SECOND READING  (Romans 5:1-2, 5-8)
Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. Hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man--though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

GOSPEL (John 4:5-42)
Jesus came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there. 

So Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 

There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." 

For his disciples had gone away into 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?" For Jews have no dealings 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 nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?" 

Jesus said to her, "Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." 

The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." 

Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." 

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 he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly." 

The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."

Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks 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 (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things." 

Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." 

Just then his disciples came. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but none said, "What do you wish?" or, "Why are you talking with her?" 

So the woman left her water jar, and went away into the city, and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" They went out of the city and were coming to him. 

Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." So the disciples said to one another, "Has any one brought him food?" 

Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers 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 labor; others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour." 

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world."

A spring of water welling up to eternal life Word of Life Community

A look at today's Gospel Reading - Coptic Orthodox reflection

Spiritual thirst and the Holy Spirit - Pastor Rick Warren  

FURTHERMORE . . . (by 
Msgr. Joseph Prior)
Water is necessary for life. While we know this from our intellect we also sense it experientially when we go without water for a period. In the initial period we may say that we are “thirsty.” Our body tells us that we need water. We can feel the need as we long for water.
Going without for a longer period of time we begin to get dehydrated. When this happens all sorts of things start to occur in the body – we can get faint or lightheaded, lethargy sets in, we might even get disoriented. The urgent need for water will be noticed as the body then begins to shut down – and eventually, without water, we will die.
The Israelites were keenly aware of this as they journeyed in the desert. It’s not that easy to find water in the desert. Such was the case when they were at “Meribah and Massah.” They are thirsty. So they grumble against the Lord: “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?” Wow. That is some pretty serious grumbling. Remember they were slaves while in Egypt; the Egyptians were working them to death, and murdering all their new born males.
In their thirst, they forgot the Lord’s goodness to them and his power to save. The Lord is not happy with this grumbling but provides, once again, for his people. Their thirst, at least their physical thirst, is quenched and they are saved.
The Gospel passage for Sunday’s liturgy is Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well of Jacob. Jesus was thirsty. He had been walking all morning when he arrived at about noon in Sychar, a Samaritan town. It is here that Jesus encounters and interacts with the “woman at the well.”
In the encounter we see a wonderful interplay between thirst and satisfaction, between water and spirit. Jesus is thirsty for water, the Samaritan woman thirsty for spirit. She can provide the water, he can provide the Spirit. As the interchange develops we see clearly that the need for “living water” is much more significant and important than regular water.
Jesus says to the woman: “Everyone who drinks this water [from the well] will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The offer of “living water” can only be made because Jesus has come on a mission from the Father. The mission is that of mercy and healing through sacrifice.
When the disciples returned to find Jesus at the well with the woman, they urge Jesus to eat. Jesus responds to them: “I have food to eat which you do not know…. My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.”
The living water that Jesus promises is poured out from the cross. Recall that after Jesus dies but is still hanging on the cross, the soldiers came and one of them “thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.” The water signifies the “living water” that Jesus provides through his passion and death. The resurrection will witness to its power to give eternal life.
Lent helps prepare us for the Triduum and Easter in which we remember the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord and our participation in the life he affords us. Participation in the liturgies of the Triduum draws us into the paschal mystery we celebrate.
A major part of these celebrations happen at the Easter Vigil when adults are fully initiated into the life Christ won for us. They are immersed in the “living waters” of baptism and the gift of the Spirit is poured out upon them. At the Easter liturgies, all the baptized are reminded of their own baptism through the renewal of vows and the sprinkling of water.
The celebration of Easter is the celebration of life, the eternal life that has been made possible for us through Christ Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. These are the “living waters” that provide for our thirst, the thirst for life.

PRAYER  (John van de Laar)
In the dry wildernesses of our lives,
in the days of heat and thirst,
you offer us living water,
Thank you, gracious and generous God.

When we begin to doubt your presence,
and grumble that your love is unreliable,
you offer us living water,
Thank you, gracious and generous God.

When life’s regrets and the bad choices we have made
leave us feeling excluded and unworthy,
you offer us living water,
Thank you, gracious and generous God.

When circumstances, or the inhumanity of others,
have left us alone and wounded,
you offer us living water,
Thank you, gracious and generous God.

We thank you and praise you, O God,
that how ever we may thirst,
what ever we may need to satisfy our souls,
you offer it freely and abundantly in Christ;
So we drink deep of the living water
and, as we draw from your wells,
we seek to pass the cup to others
who, like us, are thirsty for your grace.


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