Third Sunday in Lent, Year A
For [God’s] is the sea, for she made it,
and the dry land, which her hands have crafted.
Water. You can’t live without it; sometimes you can’t live with it. Lake Tahoe is buried under the frozen stuff currently creating all sorts of havoc, while much of the west is drowning in a self-made water shortage that a deepening drought will only make more devastating. It seems in these days in the Anthropocene you either need a canteen or a life raft. You need water from a rock, or you need to strike a path through the depths (that will also cover a pursuing army).
Water is a big deal in our religious imagery because it has always been a big deal in human survival and well-being. So floods become symbols of judgment and promise, sometimes troubling ones. Is the wholesale elimination of the unrighteous in Noah’s story really that much better than the Mesopotamian tale of a genocidal flood because the people were just too noisy (and irritating)?
The depths hold vast mysteries and their lurking monsters. Wells become places of meeting. Hagar and her son meet God. Rachel and Rebekah and Zipporah meet their matches. So what’s up with this meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan?
We may not really know, despite all of our ideas about it. But that’s always the case, we might argue, with a living God and living water. And that is reason enough to hope. Indeed, “Is the Lord among us or not?” is always a live question—or at least the how of it is for a Spirit who moves over the waters effortlessly, like a breath.
Enter into worship.
Readings: Exodus 17:1-7 † Psalm 95 † Romans 5:1-11 † John 4:5-42
About the Art: Painting (detail) by Joyce Walker. Card design by Barbara Anderson. This is an image of a series of cards produced for Lent, 2023, this theme based on resources written by Jill Jones.
[i] Gafney, Wilda C.. A Women's Lectionary for the Whole Church (p. 138). Church Publishing Incorporated. Kindle Edition.
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