Jesus said to [the Samaritan woman], “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.” –John 4:13-15
During this month of March, we plunge into the season of Lent, a season traditionally set aside as a time to deepen our faith and renew our spiritual practices as we reflect on Jesus’ journey to the cross.
In the early church, new members made final preparations for baptism during Lent. After months of faith formation, the days of Lent helped ready them for their long-awaited baptism on Easter Day. In worship this year, we will hear the same readings these long-ago Christians heard as they prepared their bodies, minds, and spirits for a new life in Christ.
Above is an excerpt from one story that we will hear often called “the Woman at the Well.” In this story, Jesus enters into conversation with a woman at a village water well. The woman is a member of a people, the Samaritans, who have a long history of conflict and disagreement with Jesus’ people, the Jews. And yet this conversation leads to this woman and many members of her Samaritan village coming to believe in Jesus.
In baptism, the groups to whom society says we belong – middle class, lower class, white collar, blue collar, nerds, jocks, immigrant, citizen – become irrelevant. Our belief in Jesus, affirmed in baptism, erases the old classifications and categories that used to separate us. In baptism, we are washed in water that continually wells up in us, renewing and replenishing us when we feel dried out and defeated by the challenges and obstacles of life. Our belief in Jesus, affirmed in baptism, satisfies our thirst for deeper meaning and direction in life.
As we consider this story and others that lead us back to that moment of new life in baptism, I encourage you to reflect on the question: how can we allow this water of eternal life to gush up in our daily actions and practices? How can we share what we have received in baptism? How can we give others the opportunity to satisfy their thirst?
This Lent, I invite you to join me in supporting ELCA World Hunger ELCA.org/hunger/ an organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America working in nearly 60 countries, including the United States, to end hunger and poverty (see page 7). Each week, we will hear the story of an individual whose life has been changed by the work of ELCA World Hunger.
Please, consider contributing just $1 a day throughout the season of Lent to this organization. Let’s see what happens when we allow the water of eternal life to gush up here in Richlandtown!
In Christ, Pastor Kat