Sunday, March 23, 2014: “Today’s Scripture Readings”



A Reading from the Book of 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?”


> Massah and Meribah mean “quarrel” and “test.”  God must prove himself.

> In Numbers, Moses strikes the rock twice instead of once, so God forbids him to get to the Promised Land.

> The Jews are between the promise and fulfillment at this point – state of mind.

> Very simple means — strike a rock and satisfy your thirst.



Psalm 95


(Psalm refrain to be sung by  soloist

and repeated by all)


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.

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.”



Refrain : Roy James Stewart


> Psalm used for Morning Prayer service.

> Call to praise God and then the explanation — classic pattern.

> Verses 1, 2, and 6 summons to praise God.

> God is king of all creation and also our personal king.

> Ties back with quarreling and testing.



A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the 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.


> Following from last week – Abraham’s salvation was justified by faith.

> Even while we were rebelling against God, he died for us.

> Now that we are reconciled with Christ, we are even closer to God.

> There is also a poetic structure in the reading.



The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to 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.”


> Great drama where John shuttles people in and out.

> 922 BCE:  Israel was to the north and Judah to the south.

> 722 BCE:  The Assyrians destroyed Israel and scattered its peoples and brought others in.

> The Samaritans were looked down upon by the Jews.

> Jacob’s well is still there.

> This is the only place in the Bible where Jesus is called a Jew.

> “Living water” refers to flowing water at that time.

> Initially the woman does not give Jesus much respect.

> She accuses him that he thinks he is greater than Jacob.

> Jacob’s water in the Genesis flood flowed 20 years.

> Jesus’ water flows eternally.

> Jesus showed his insight into the woman’s past.

> Now she gives him more respect and calls him Messiah.

> The scene changes as the woman leaves and the disciples re-enter.

> The misunderstand the meaning of the food just like the woman misunderstood the water.

> Scholars agree that this actual story most likely never took place.

> Some of the Samaritans are ready to be part of the Jesus movement.