37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. 38 Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. 39 Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. 40 I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” 41 Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” 42 While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 And all were astounded at the greatness of God.
- When have you had a devastating experience that caused you to call out to God in desperation?
- Who are you praying for who is in difficult circumstances?
- What is your prayer for them today? What do you think their prayer is?
- What has caused you to be astounded at the greatness of God?
Jesus, thank you for giving those who need you time and presence and healing. When we are overwhelmed help us to lean into you. Give us the faith to pray for others, believing that you desire and are able to heal and restore them. And give us eyes to see you in ways that astound us. In your name, Amen.
While everyone was amazed at all that he was doing, he said to his disciples, 44 “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.” 45 But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
- Have you ever been told something that feels incongruent and inconvenient in light of your current experience?
- When did the truth sink in?
- What are you afraid to ask Jesus about? Why?
Lord Jesus, you do not back away from the truth about why you came to earth to live among us. We give up our wishing that you had been here to overcome the world through might or political means. Help us to comprehend your journey to the cross and give us the courage to walk with you. In your name, Amen.
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John” 2 (although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized), 3 he left Judea and started back to Galilee. 4 But he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.
Jesus was aware of what was going on, what people were saying, and at the same time, kept his focus on the purpose of his ministry. He traveled back to Galilee, away from the eyes and concern of the Pharisees, but right through another area of conflict for Jews – Samaria.
- How do you discern between what is happening around you and what God is calling you to do?
- What is inconvenient or uncomfortable about what God is asking you to do?
- What would it look like to “sit by the well” of God’s presence and find rest?
Gracious God, it is so easy for us to be governed by the voices and impressions we hear and perceive around us, letting them guide our steps and choices. Help us to find rest in your presence and hear your guiding voice even as you lead us through places of discomfort. Keep our eyes on you and our hands in yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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.”
It was the middle of the day, the hottest time when others would not be at the well. This woman thought that if she went at that time, she would not have to bear the judgmental stares of the others who were drawing water. Much to her surprise, she encountered a man, and not just a man, but one who asked for a simple drink of water and engaged her in conversation.
- When have you altered your schedule or your route to avoid others?
- Can you think of a time when you have created space that makes it difficult for someone to feel welcome?
- Where have you found Jesus to be in either of these scenarios? How is he engaging you?
Gracious God, we confess that our relationships are sometimes governed by fear and judgment which tear us apart rather than keeping us connected. Thank you for your hospitality that enters in to our places of isolation and creates a space of welcome and engages us in conversation with you. Help us to be agents of your hospitality. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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.”
The woman was very practical in her response to Jesus’ invitation to living water, and seemed to express that Jacob was the source of this water. Jesus opened up her imagination to go beyond the material water she cam to draw and to drink the eternal water that he offered. Suddenly, it was the woman who was asking for a drink.
- Where are you thirsty for something more?
- What practices do you have to fill that thirst and how long does it take before you are thirsty again?
- What does living water mean to you?
Gracious God, we are thirsty for you and you alone, but we sometimes look to other people, things, and activities to quench our thirst. Meet us where we are at and give us the courage and strength to let go of the practices, attitudes, and posture that cause us to be thirsty again, and lead us to yourself, the living water. In Jesus’ name, Amen.