Worshiping and Serving God, Loving and Accepting All

March 15, 3rd Sunday in Lent: “To Test(?) or Rest(!)”

The Sermon is available in the attached PDF file which can be downloaded.  Click on the link above on the left. Scripture readings are as follows. 

EXODUS 17:1-7   (Common English Bible +)

1 The whole Israelite community broke camp and set out from the Sin desert to continue their journey, as the Lord commanded.  They set up their camp at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.               2 The people quarreled with Moses and said,  “Give us water to drink.”     Moses said to them,   “Why are you quarreling with me?  Why are you testing the Lord?”     3 But the people were very thirsty for water there, and they complained to Moses,  “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”     4 So Moses cried out to the Lord,    “What should I do with this people?  They are getting ready to stone me.”       5 The Lord said to Moses,   “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of Israel’s elders with you.  Take in your hand the staff that you used to strike the Nile River, and go.  6 I’ll be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb.  Hit the rock.  Water will come out of it, and the people will be able to drink.”   Moses did so while Israel’s elders watched.      7 He called the place Massah [or “test”] and Meribah [or “quarrel”], because the Israelites quarreled with and tested the Lord, asking,       “Is the Lord really with us or not?”

PSALM 95   (Psalter for the Christian People +) 

1 Come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before God’s presence with thanksgiving
and raise a loud shout to the Lord with psalms.
3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great Ruler above all gods.
4 The Lord holds the depths of the earth,
and sustains the heights of the hills.
5 The sea belongs to God, who made it,
whose hands have molded the dry land.
6 Come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For the Lord is our God,
and we are the people of God’s pasture and the sheep of God’s hand.
Oh, that today you would listen to God’s voice!
8     “Do not harden your hearts
like you did at Meribah,
like you did when you were at Massah,
in the wilderness,
9     when your ancestors tested me
and put me to the proof,
even though they had already seen my works,
10 For forty years I detested that generation and said,
‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
they do not know my ways.’
11 So I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter into my rest.’”

JOHN 4:5-42   (Common English Bible +)

5 He came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, which was near the land Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
6 Jacob’s well was there.  Jesus was tired from his journey, so he sat down at the well.  It was about noon.
7 A Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water.  Jesus said to her,
“Give me some water to drink.”
8 His disciples had gone into the city to buy him some food.  9 The Samaritan woman asked,
                      “Why do you, a Jewish man, ask for something to drink from me, a Samaritan woman?
    (Jews and Samaritans did not associate with each other.)  10 Jesus responded,
                        “If you recognized God’s gift and who is saying to you, ‘Give me some water
to drink,’ you would be asking him and he would give you living water.”
11 The woman said to him,
                          “Sir, you do not have a bucket and the well is deep.  Where would you get
this living water?  12 You are not greater than our father Jacob, are you?
He gave this well to us, and he drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”
13 Jesus answered,
                          “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks from
the water that I will give will never be thirsty again.  The water that I give will become
in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him,
                           “Sir, give me this water, so that I will never be thirsty and will never need to
come here to draw water!”
16 Jesus said to her,
                          “Go, get your husband, and come back here.”
17 The woman replied,
                            “I do not have a husband.”
                            “You are right to say, ‘I do not have a husband,’”
Jesus answered.
                              18 “You have had five husbands, and the man you are with now is not your
husband.  You have spoken the truth.”
19 The woman said,
                           “Sir, I see that you are a prophet.  20 Our ancestors worshipped on this
mountain, but you and your people say that it is necessary to worship in Jerusalem.”
21 Jesus said to her,
                          “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you and your people will worship the
Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  22 You and your people worship what
you do not know; we worship what we know because salvation is from the Jews.
                               23 But the time is coming—and is here!—when true worshippers will worship in spirit and
truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  24 God is spirit, and it is necessary
to worship God in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said,
                         “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one who is called the Christ.  When he comes,
he will teach everything to us.”
26 Jesus said to her,
                           “I Am—the one who speaks with you.”
27 Just then, Jesus’ disciples arrived and were shocked that he was talking with a woman. But no one asked,
“What do you want?”
  “Why are you talking with her?”
28 The woman put down her water jar and went into the city.  She said to the people,
29 “Come and see a man who has told me everything I have done!  Could this man be the Christ?”
30 They left the city and were on their way to see Jesus.
31 In the meantime the disciples spoke to Jesus, saying,
                           “Rabbi, eat.”
32 Jesus said to them,
                            “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”
33 The disciples asked each other,
                             “Has someone brought him food?”
34 Jesus said to them,
                              “I am fed by doing the will of the one who sent me and by completing this work.
                                   35 Do you not have a saying, ‘Four more months and then it is time for harvest’?  Look,
I tell you: open your eyes and notice that the fields are already ripe for the harvest.
                                   36 Those who harvest are receiving their pay and gathering fruit for eternal life so that
those who sow and those who harvest can celebrate together.  37 This is a true saying,
that one sows and another harvests.  38 I have sent you to harvest what you did not
work hard for; others worked hard, and you will share in their hard work.”
39 Many Samaritans in that city believed in Jesus because of the woman’s word when she testified,
                              “He told me everything I have ever done.”
40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two
days.  41 Many more believed because of his word, 42 and they said to the woman,
                               “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and
know that this one is truly the savior of the world.”




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