God, help me to see others not as my enemies or as ungodly but rather as thirsty people. And give me the courage and compassion to go offer your Living Water, which alone quenches deep thirst.—Henri Nouwen
When we read the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman, we should first remember and retain one thing: it follows straight on from his encounter with Nicodemus.
I was told I was a bit harsh on Nicodemus last week. So let me give you my opinion, rather than the various opinions of scholars; my opinion is that Nicodemus did come into the light by the end of John’s story of Jesus; I think he came in a series of steps through progressively lighter hues of grey. But like so many of us, he took his time. He listened to his fears, like the Israelites in the wilderness story. That’s not the way forward.
Yet here, today, when we meet the Samaritan woman, Nicodemus is still in the darkness. He hasn’t yet walked into the light. So here’s the thing: the Samaritan woman is a total contrast to Nicodemus. Walking from chapter 3 into chapter 4 of John is like stepping into another world.
Filed under Lent, RCL, sermon
I think it was my first day at school. If not, it must have been the first week.
We had been asked to draw a picture. I drew a picture with my crayons, in blue, green and black. I did my best.
I looked at the boy sitting next to me, who also lived next door. Gary was drawing a nicely-ruled picture of houses. I could see it was very good, and so much better than mine. I had no idea he could draw like that. I looked from his picture to mine and back again. I had thought mine was ok, but I began to think maybe it wasn’t. My heart sunk.
Then the teacher announced that we had to line up and show her our pictures. I hadn’t known that would happen! My heart sank further still. I was behind Gary in the line. When he showed his picture, the teacher couldn’t praise him enough. It was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then with a bowed head, I showed her my picture. She was dismissive. She called it ‘scribble’, and asked why I couldn’t draw better at my age. I knew it wasn’t as good as Gary’s, but I also knew I had tried. I was ashamed; I was officially Bad At Drawing; Gary and I never talked about it.
This is what my picture looked like: Continue reading
Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent
1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, ‘Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John’—although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized—he left Judea and started back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria.
Why did Jesus have to go through Samaria? And what’s the big deal anyway?
Even at this early stage of his ministry, the opposition to Jesus was beginning. The Pharisees were sensing that they had a new opponent; but it was not yet time for Jesus to encounter them. He wanted to get out of Judea in the south, up to the safety of Galilee in the north.
Normally a Jew would go the long way around Samaria, by crossing the Jordan River and then cutting north. Jesus needed to get away quickly. And he knew the Pharisees wouldn’t follow him through Samaria.
Since the Woman at the Well (John 4) is the Gospel reading this Sunday, a friend pointed me to a great video on GodTube. I really like its take on the story! View it here.