St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Bridgeville, Delaware

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

FIRST READING: Exodus 17:1-7

From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”​​​

A Prayer for the Third Sunday in Lent
March 15, 2020

Sermon — Rev. Carl E. Mosley

​Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

In this time of anxiety and fearfulness, we thirst for something.  We long to feel loved, long to experience happiness or joy, long to find meaning or significance.  When we look around us and see the empty churches, empty sports arenas and concert halls, schools closed and store shelves empty, we seek answers to what is happening in this crazy world of ours. 

The one thing we can hang on to is that we know that God is with us.  His love, warmth, and compassion will continue to surround us and He will give us the strength to face the days ahead. 

In our Gospel for the 3rd Sunday of Lent we see the story of the woman at the well.  Sometimes we get in the back of our minds that this woman was a woman of ill repute.  But that may not be the case.  We are told that the woman had 5 husbands.  In Deuteronomy we are told that man had complete control over his wife and could give her a bill of divorce for merely burning the barley cakes.  “When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes, because he has found some indecency in her, he may write her a bill of divorce and put it in her hand and send her out of this house.”  Wow.  Pretty cold.  It could be that she married brothers who died, childless, and was passed from brother to brother. 

For whatever reason she came to the well in the middle of the day when all the other women of the village would be home during the hottest part of the afternoon.  She came, perhaps to be alone, to think of where her life was and was going.  The fact is she came and found a man, a Jew, sitting alone.  Most Jews would have gone around Samaria even though it was direct route from Judea and Galilee.  They would have wanted to avoid the unclean Samaritans. 

The conversation began and Jesus not only offered her words of encouragement but he offered her something that she so desperately wanted and needed. Kindness, compassion to block out the despair, loneliness, guilt and brokenness. 

While she talked about physical water, Jesus explained to her about the gift of living water that was being offered to her by God.  All are offered to drink of that well but how many will turn their backs for something more tangible. 

Some may remember the true story of Lawrence of Arabia.  Not just the movie.  When Lawrence was in Paris after world War I with some of his Arab friends he showed them the sights of the city but what impressed them the most was the faucet in the hotel bathtub. They spent much of their time turning the faucets off and on. They were amazed that they could get all the water they wanted just by the turning of a knob. When they got ready to leave the hotel Lawrence found them in the bathroom trying to disconnect the faucets to take home with them.  They thought that they would have all the water they needed just by turning the spigot.  Lawrence had to explain to them that the water came from the vast reservoirs to which they were attached.  

That’s the way it is with our Christian lives.  Like the faucets are useless without the reservoir, our lives are useless without Christ.  We must be connected to the living water that flows from the grace of God. 

The woman at the well was looking for something. Perhaps she was looking for acceptance, love, meaning, happiness, God—and Jesus knew that.  Later in the Gospel of John, in chapter 7, Jesus says” If you are thirsty, come to me! If you believe in me, come and drink! For the scriptures declare that rivers of living water flow out from within.

Jesus promises a life that is overflowing is an abundant life, for all who will obey their thirst for him. If you are truly going to satisfy your thirst, you have to choose to drink from the faucet.  You can satisfy your thirst by doing what feels right at the time, which may be only temporary.  You can settle for less or obey and take it all.

When we obey him, as we do what he tells us in the Bible, he satisfies us. God says to do it. period.  When God gave the 10 commandments to Moses on the Mount, He didn’t give 10 suggestions, He gave them 10 commandments.

Are we going to be thirsty people?  Many will chase down dozens of things to ease their thirst, but may end up empty. 

Will you make room in your life to follow Jesus into people’s lives and help with their thirst? It’s not easy. Most will have to make attitude and time adjustments but the investment will pay eternal dividends like no other. The greatest use of life is to spend it on something which will outlast it.

We are all thirsty and God can quench the thirst, if we obey him, If we just cry out to God “Dad, I am thirsty, can you satisfy me? He will.

Psalm 107 “Give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for he satisfies the thirst and fills the hungry with good things.”

May God continue to bless us as we reach out to him in these difficult times.

 Fr. Carl+

SECOND 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.​​

GOSPEL: 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 worshiped 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 worshipers 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 labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him 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 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 Savior of the world.”​

7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. *
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!
8 Harden not your hearts, as your forebears did in the wilderness, *
at Meribah, and on that day at Massah, when they tempted me.
9 They put me to the test, *
though they had seen my works.
10 Forty years long I detested that generation and said, *
“This people are wayward in their hearts;
they do not know my ways.”
11 So I swore in my wrath, *
“They shall not enter into my rest.”Type your paragraph here.

Psalm 95
1 Come, let us sing to the Lord; *
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
3 For the Lord is a great God, *
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the caverns of the earth, *
and the heights of the hills are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it, *
and his hands have molded the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, *
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.