Lenten Devotion: March 23rd

  • March 23, 2014

Genesis 17:1-7
John 4:5-42

The Generosity of God

Strike a rock to quench your thirst? You must be kidding. Try squeezing water from a stone. Living water? Like an artesian well springing up within so you never have to worry about being thirsty again? Born again? Impossible. Such miracles are beyond our comprehension when we can only approach God on our terms.

God’s generous gift of water unites these stories: the Israelites, wandering in the desert, longing for water as proof that God has not abandoned them; and a needy, Samaritan woman who is puzzled by Jesus’ gracious offer of living water. Racial barriers are crossed and gender stereotypes are broken, demonstrating the inclusive generosity of God.

Jesus, in asking a Samaritan Woman for a drink, draws on the resources of an outsider, and turns the promises of life upside-down. After such an encounter, there will be no “business as usual” for this female, gentile evangelist who invites her village to come, meet the Promised One. But that didn’t happen without a revealing encounter, filled with innuendo, misunderstanding, double-talk, and revelations (much like the Gospel story of Nicodemus, baffled by Jesus’ invitation to be born again, born from above). When we’ve got Jesus all figured out, something shatters our world-view and we discover that God’s love is larger than our creeds, concepts, answers, and experiences, and will not be fully grasped.

When our lives are dried and brittle, our throats parched, thirst drives us to scheme and bargain with God. In desperation we put God to the test: God’s ways are not our ways. Defining our real needs, and actually meeting them eludes us, and is solely in God’s hands. We’d love some guarantee, just like the wandering, thirsty Israelites, questioning God’s presence and promises. God’s inviting, generous love graciously sets us free to drink from the gushing fountains of endless life, and be refreshed for the Lenten Journey.

Generous God, splash your life-giving Spirit all over us, that we may bathe in your amazing grace, and journey confidently in your promises to bless and be with us. Amen.