Lent 3

Third Sunday in Lent. Hymns 76, 439, 376, 383

FIRST READING Exodus 17.1-7 From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarrelled with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ Moses said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?’ But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?’ So Moses cried out to the Lord, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.’ Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarrelled and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 95

Response: O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.

1. Come, ring out our joy to the Lord; hail the rock who saves us.

Let us come before him, giving thanks; with songs let us hail the Lord. R.

2. Cone in; let us bow and bend low; let us kneel before the God who made us,

for he is our God and we the people who belong to his pasture, the flock that is led by his hand. R.

3. O that today you would listen to his voice: “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,

as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test;

when they tried me, though they saw my work.” R.

SECOND READING Romans 5.1-11 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

GOSPEL John 4.5-42 So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 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.) 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.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 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.’ 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.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 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. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ 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.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’ Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’ Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Saviour of the world.’

ST MICHAEL'S NEWS

A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A special welcome to Fr Paul, our celebrant this morning, who will also kindly be celebrating Mass for us on Thursday at 10.30 am. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us for tea or coffee in the Vestry Hall after the service, so that we can welcome you properly.

Going to church with Mum on Mothering Sunday is a fine old English tradition. Granny might like to come too! Mothering Sunday this year is next Sunday, 19^th^ March, and at Mass we can give thanks for motherhood in its many aspects – the motherhood of our blessed Lady, the motherhood of the Church, the work of the Mothers' Union and similar organisations, and the people and professions that nurture and teach others, whether children or not. At the end of Mass there will be posies for those present to give to their mums. Why not invite family members, a family known to you, or a kindly neighbour?

The PCC Agenda is on display in the Narthex.

The Chrism Mass at which Bishop Norman will be presiding takes place on Tuesday, 4^th^ April at Canterbury Cathedral, followed by a (free) sandwich lunch. The latter is available only for those who book! - please let Eleanor know today if you intend to come to the lunch. But whether or not you can stay for the lunch, the Mass is always an inspiring occasion and St Michael's should be well represented. Do come if you can! Can anyone offer a lift to others?

A Piano (belonging to a neighbour of Paul's) seeks a new home. If you would like it – or have a friend or relation who might – please speak to Paul.

Lay Ministry is something our diocese rightly wants to celebrate and encourage. All sorts of information and helpful links can be found in the latest newsletter “Equipping for ministry” - https://mailchi.mp/diocant/equipping-for-ministry-february-1451434?e=79df12de23. Lay people can lead worship, become Anna Chaplains, train as Readers, and exercise the kind of valued parish ministry familiar to us all at St Michael's, as servers, chalice-bearers, leaders of intercessions….. Could God be calling you to one of these roles, or to some other? A Lay Ministry Celebration Day is being held at St Benedict's Centre, Swan Street, West Malling, on May 13^th^, 10.30 am - 4.30 pm, which (as well as being a forum for lay ministers and those who train them) should provide some ideas for anyone interested in further exploration.

Ukraine, sadly, remains in the news, and its needs remain desperate. For space reasons the nearest local collecting-point has lately stopped accepting clothing and other bulky items – but it continues to appeal for medicines for animals and people (even if partly used, even if - recently - out of date), for toiletries and sanitary supplies, and for such things as walking aids. Please speak to Eleanor, who can give you the address or will deliver for you if you prefer.

Reminder: the parish Quiet Day, led by Fr Derek, is on March 25^th^. If you are coming, please touch base with Eleanor after Mass.

Could you pass this sheet on to someone else who might like to see it?

Updated: