The Good Samaritan Sister
Listen to this daily worship
John 4: 7-26 (NRSVA)
7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ 11 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ 13 Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 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.’ 15 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.’
16 Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ 17 The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ 19 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ 21 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ 25 The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ 26 Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’
THE GOOD SAMARITAN SISTER: “So there I was. The sun was streaming, pouring down, filling every gap in town and cooking it. I was waiting for her in the sweltering heat and I was thinking: I’m a good sister. No, I’m a great sister. I’ve stuck with my big sister through thick and thin and paper thin. When we thought the walls would collapse or the sky fall in, I’ve been there, catching bits of sky. I’ve covered for her, backed her up, sided with her, held her back when she had to stop and urged her on when she had to go. I’ve cried with her, laughed with her, laugh-cried with her. I’m a good Samaritan.
We’ve been through it all her and me, most of it twice, and the only thing that’s got us through is knowing that the other one is going through it too. We’ve been on the move, one way or another, for years. We’ve learned not to drop our guard. After all this time we’re exhausted, it’s hard to find anything or anyone we can trust.
We’ve both agreed that if ever one of us finds somewhere we can truly belong — where we can finally breathe out — that we’ll run right away to tell the other one. We’ll nod twice, up and down dead fast, like mother used to. And the other one will know, will just know.
Over the years there’s been lots of head shaking, heads slumping and leaning on weary shoulders but no nods. We can both, just, still picture our mother nodding encouragingly to us like that, up and down. But it’s vague picture now.
So there I was, in the stifling heat, hardly breathing. My sister had gone to the well, but she’d been ages. I had no idea what was taking her so long. She’d gone then because she’d thought it would be quiet, nobody else would be out in the heat of the day. I felt so weary, so done in, and yet restless at the same time. It was long gone time to get up and get going. To get out of here.
And then I saw her.
She was running.
And she wasn’t carrying any water.
And then I saw her lift her head up and down.
Our place is with you
help us to rest there
help us to nest there.
LENT FOCUS 1: PLACE
We begin by focusing on ‘place’ — one of the themes in the first week of our Daily Worship. Pray this week for people who feel they don’t have a place, that they might start to feel they belong. Pray for places that need restoration and repair. Pray that we take good care of the places entrusted to us.