St Mark’s Lenten Thoughts, Saturday in the First Week of Lent

Lent Week One – Saturday

Psalm 139:1-17(18-23) Deut. 11:18-28 Heb. 5:1-10 John 4:1-26

The Samaritan woman at the well is unique to John’s gospel – she isn’t found in Matthew, Mark, or Luke. Nevertheless, she is a memorable character and, to be frank, it sounds like her life was a mess. With five ex-husbands and a live-in boyfriend, she was not “good” by local definitions of the term. When Jesus pointedly comments on this in the middle of their conversation, it rattles my Southern sensibilities a little. How direct! Not something I would have said during a conversation with a stranger in the checkout line at Kroger. I’m not saying we should start, but perhaps we channel that candor inwards.

During Lent, we take a break from trying to be “good” and allow the Holy Spirit to turn our attention to the less attractive parts of ourselves. What are the five exhusbands in my life?

Perhaps my tendencies towards resentfulness or self-absorption?  What are yours? Even if we don’t exactly know, God does, as the Psalm today reminds us: 

“You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away” 

“Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.” 

This may be a sobering thought. Mercifully, however, salvation depends not on our “goodness,” but on God’s. Regardless of our past, our faults, and our struggles, Jesus offers the same Living Water to each of us, just as he did for the Samaritan woman. In this light, what a joy to think that Jesus knows us so well and loves us so well.

Thanks be to God! 

Annelies Harrison

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