3rd Sunday of Lent Reflection by Maggie Hanley

This weekend marks the third Sunday in Lent, and the first of three Sundays in which those preparing for baptism celebrate the scrutinies. At Home with the Word 2018 explains that the scrutinies provide an opportunity to reflect on our sinfulness and our desire for healing. This week’s scrutiny focuses on Jesus, the living water.

In the Gospel reading from John, we hear of the familiar encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. In this exchange, following an initial reaction of hostility, the Samaritan woman realizes that Jesus is the “spring of water” that will give “eternal life.” Through Christ’s resurrection, we are assured of an everlasting life with Him.

I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but decided to give it a shot this year. I was in a rut, desperate for some personal time and connection with God. I committed to spending time in prayer and devotion each morning. I set expectations low, at 10 minutes each day, setting my alarm earlier than I normally would, to allow myself the alone time before the rest of my family sprang to life. I knew, realistically, this is what I could swing. I keep it simple with one-page devotionals (current favorite: Devotions from the Front Porch) and time in prayer. In stillness. Each day looks different, based on my mood, tiredness, and openness, but I do try to be patient with myself and allow myself some grace. Very much a work in progress here; not trying to measure the time as a “success” or not.

In the brief time I’ve been doing it, I have found it now sets the tone of my day. I am more patient – with myself, with my children, and those I come in contact with – whether in a personal setting or with fellow commuters on the road. More importantly, I’m more keenly aware of God at work in me, and more focused on and grounded in the everlasting life Jesus calls us toward each day. And, I find myself wanting more. More time with God, more time with His word. The simplicity yet richness with which it graces my life. Jesus, the living water; Jesus, the “spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

In the second reading from Romans we hear of the peace that comes with God and the “hope of the glory of God.” God the Father proved His love for humanity by allowing His Son, Jesus, to die for us, lowly sinners. While fundamentally I know this, I still find myself awe-stricken at its gravity. A truth we can rest in, and find peace, trust, and hope. I recently finished the book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne, in which he provided an example of a child learning to ride a two-wheel bike. In the struggle for a child to learn, a parent acts as a third wheel, placing a hand on the back of the seat until the child takes off and learns to balance. At a certain point she is ready; the parent “has been there, for her and with her, so consistently that she has internalized your support. That’s why she is ready.” I couldn’t help but think of this in terms of our relationships with God. We internalize His support and move through life’s experiences with confidence He is there—constantly learning and being challenged, all the while supported. Jesus knows what we need and encourages us over and over to spend time with Him in prayer, reflecting and learning and simply being. Peace, trust and hope founded in the promise of eternal life. We are loved.