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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, April 8, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | John 4:5–15

So he 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.” (NRSV)

We generally take water for granted here in the U.S., but there’s no mistaking that water is the source of life.

When I traveled to Cameroon and Ghana on Fourth Church mission trips, I saw that up close. One of my favorite memories was seeing a line of women with large bowls of water on their head carrying water back into the village in which we were working. It was a stunning site, but a grim reminder of how access to water can be difficult for so many people.

The more water we have, the more ways we will find to use it. Josh Heikkila, a mission coworker in Ghana and the regional coordinator for West Africa for the Presbyterian Church (USA), notes that if villagers have a liter of water, they’ll drink it. If they have fifty liters, they’ll drink, cook, bathe, do laundry, and clean their surroundings.

Here, Jesus offers living water—that of the Holy Spirit and his love. It’s a different, but equally life-giving, water. As he implies, there’s also an unlimited supply. We can drink it and let it give us strength for our daily tasks. Yet there’s enough that we can also share it.

Jesus reaching out to the Samaritan woman, someone who is different from him, is one example of how we can share his love. What are other ways you can share God’s love? To whom can you reach out today?

Living God, remind me of the ways your Spirit is at work in my life and the world around me. Give me the strength to not only get through the day but to enable your work in the world. Help me love others and seek justice, today and every day. Amen.

Written by Mark Nelson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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