The Daily Office | March 5, 2018
Psalms 24, 25, 26
Psalms 27, 28, 29
Collect: Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: The Third Sunday in Lent
Heavenly Father, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you: Look with compassion upon the heartfelt desires of your servants, and purify our disordered affections, that we may behold your eternal glory in the face of Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
John is famous for subtle word plays in his gospel, and I believe that John 4 contains several that point to what John wants us to see happening in this passage. For one, in 4:3, John said Jesus left Judea and departed to Galilee, and in 4:28 he tells us that the Samaritan woman left her water jar and departed to the town. In 4:38, Jesus tells the disciples that others have labored, and that the disciples have entered into that labor. And in 4:6, it was Jesus himself who first sat beside the well precisely because he himself was wearied, or quite literally was having-labored.
I believe that through these subtle verbal clues, John is pointing to the wonderful fact that the Samaritan woman has joined in the labor of Jesus himself (after all, many from her town came to faith in Jesus after having first believed because of her testimony). Everywhere that Jesus left from and departed to was a part of his doing the will and the work of the Father (4:34), and in this account the woman was wondrously caught up in that work herself.
May each of us know that Jesus is pleased to include us in the Father's work, just like this woman whose simple testimony brought people to Jesus or like the baffled disciples who stumbled upon the scene and yet were privileged to participate in the harvest for which Jesus and the woman had already been laboring. And may we in turn ask the Father, who according to our Ephesians passage is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to so thoroughly guide our way that along with Jesus our every coming and going is a participation in doing the will and the work of our Father.