Sunday 23 March 2014 Third Sunday in Lent - John 4: 5 – 42
We live in a world that really likes us to define differences. The “them” and “us”. In the world of politics – discussion is so often about the gap between the rich and those in poverty, those in work and those on benefits, people who see the UK as “theirs” and those who are seeking to make England their home too. Some go so far as to say that we have never been so divided a community as we are now. But one of the loud sirens in John’s gospel is this – that the love of God respects no boundaries. Jesus affirms this in as he stops for refreshment by the well in Samaria. It may have been “their” territory, but he was at home. He may have broken unwritten rules about a man communicating with a woman on her own, but he is at ease in this encounter. By his deliberate choice to be found in this place and his determination to meet and talk with this woman his actions speak volumes about how each individual is embraced and loved by God. And the testimony of the people from the village, after Jesus spends two days with them could not have been more profound: “Now we believe because we have heard him ourselves, not just because of what you told us. He is indeed the Saviour of the world” (v42) – the Kingdom of God is not just for Israel, but for the world (i.e. both “them” and “us”) and for individuals like us.
Let us pray today for the influence we can have when contemporary values emphasise division. God’s word in our workplace, his gospel to our neighbours, his compassion for those down-trodden in our society has never been more needed – “Amazing love, how can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me”.