Reading and Prayer – November 15

This week’s Guest Contributor is Rev. Karla Wubbenhorst. We are grateful for the readings she has selected and the prayers she has composed.

Reading: John 4: 4-15 (abridged)
Now [Jesus] …came to a town in Samaria called Sychar…. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food). The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans). Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well…?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water.…”

Prayer: 

Lord, I confess that sometimes I do not want to take the time that it takes to meet with You.  When it is already noon, and the day is exerting its heat and there is much to do, I look upon Your request, that I stop and attend to You, as an imposition.  I am too busy to pray.  “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  It is true.  I do not understand my own need for You, nor the incredible opportunity for grace and refreshment that is there waiting for me, if only I will not dismiss it.  “Sir, give me this water…” says the woman of Samaria.  And whether she is being incredulous or sarcastic, it is the right thing to say.  “Yes please, Lord!  Give me this water…”  I need it.  You alone have it.  You offer it to me.  Help me not miss it through all the things that are strange about this encounter: God stooping down… God being found HERE in my squalid, work-a-day reality… God in His holiness, approaching me in my sinfulness…  God asking a consideration from ME…  Help me not miss what is being offered through my own carelessness and ingratitude and hard-bitten, hard-heartedness.  

Lord, there are lots of deep refreshing “wells” in my human relationships too that I am waiting for a moment when I am not busy in order to visit: that neighbour I have been intending to speak with, that friendship that needs my attention, that spouse or child or aging parent who has asked me for a drink (or who has stopped asking).  Lord, as you say in another place about “the food that perishes,” help me not work for the water that can merely be consumed, but for the living water that is on tap from you, and from those you place in my life, as wells of deeper meaning, capable of giving such refreshment here, and springing up even to eternal life.  Help me to understand that what happens here, in my daily conversation with You, has the power to lift the burden of my busy day, not just add to it.  Help me to recognize “Who it is that asks [me] for a drink” and what awesome Grace it is He offers.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN.  

-Rev. Karla Wubbenhorst