The Gospel and Old Testament lesson are obviously connected because of the theme of water, physical and spiritual water. The Epistle lesson has no reference to water, but to the life that follows justification by faith: peace, access, hope, and joy. Justification is based on the love of God shown in Christ’s dying for the ungodly. Psalm 95 is closely related to Lesson 1 because it refers to the Israelites’ putting God to the test. The Gospel lesson gives an insight into the human-divine Jesus. We see His humanity: He is tired from walking and thirsty from the noonday heat. Like any of us, He asks for a drink of water. On the other hand, His divinity shows: He offers living water of eternal life, teaches about true worship of God, and admits He is the Messiah.
Collects for Lent 3: O God, whose glory it is to have mercy, be gracious to all who have gone astray from Your ways and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Father, You have taught us to overcome our sins by prayer, fasting and works of mercy. When we are discouraged by our weakness, give us confidence in Your love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Eternal Lord, your kingdom has broken into our troubled world through the life, death, and resurrection of your Son. Help us to hear your word and obey it, so that we become instruments of your redeeming love.
Collect for Psalm 95: Almighty God, neither let us go astray as did those who murmured in the desert, not let us be torn apart by discord. With Jesus as our Shepherd, bring us to enjoy the unity for which He prays; and to You be the glory and the praise now and forever.
The Strong Name of the Trinity – March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day and the hymn, “I Bind unto Myself Today” LSB #604 is attributed to Patrick. Known as the apostle to the Irish people, he used the shamrock to explain the Trinity to the people. The hymn beautifully explains the Trinity:
I bind unto myself today
The strong name of the Trinity
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
Monday, 17 March 2014—Psalm 84:1-4; antiphon, Psalm 84:5—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, Blessed are those whose strength is in You in whose heart are the highways to Zion. This psalm has three main divisions: 1-4, 5-7, 8-11 as well as a conclusion in verse 12. In the Hebrew text, a six-line unit precedes and follows a three-line reflection on the blessedness of those free to make a pilgrimage to Zion. Each of these six-line divisions contains three references to the “Lord” while the seventh reference (symbolizing completeness or perfection) appears in the conclusion.
Tuesday, 18 March 2014—Psalm 95:1-9—key verse, verse 6—Come, let us bow down in worship let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. These words we pray in the liturgy when we sing the Venite in the order of Matins. This we do when Paul encourages us to worship the Lord with Psalm songs, and spiritual songs. The exhortation to submit to the Lord with obedient hearts and bent knee is not enough. For a New Testament reflection on these verses in light of the coming of Christ, see Hebrews 3:7-4:13.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014—Exodus 17:1-7—Water is necessary for physical life. Upon the Lord’s direction, Moses brings water out of a rock for the wilderness people. God’s people are in the wilderness and are thirsty. This is one of a series of complaints of the Israelites during their forty-year stay in the wilderness. This episode follows the pattern of the others: The people complain to Moses, Moses takes the complaint to Yahweh, and Yahweh graciously answers the need. In this case, Moses is directed to strike a rock out of which comes water. The account points out the faithlessness of the people by threatening Moses and, by putting God to the test, the obedience of Moses and the goodness of God in answering the need. In this instance, there was the sin of putting God to the test. Is God with us or not?
Thursday, 20 March 2014—Romans 5:1-8—Life flows from Justification. Christians have peace with God through the reconciliation made possible by the cross. This lesson is a part of a transition from justification by faith to a life of faith beginning with chapter 6. Hence we have Paul’s “therefore.” By grace through faith, we are one with God in peace and harmony. Out of this relationship comes reasons to rejoice: we share in the glory of God (verse 2); we experience suffering that eventuates in hope (verses 3, 4); and we are reconciled to God through Christ (verse 11). In our suffering, sin, and weakness, God comes to us in love expressed in the death of Christ.
Friday, 21 March 2014—John 4:5-26—In the Gospel lesson Jesus is the water of eternal life. Jesus offers living water to a Samaritan woman to whom He reveals himself as the Messiah. In this Gospel lesson we are given several important subjects: the attitude of Jesus toward a Samaritan woman, Jesus’ humanity in wanting a drink and offering living water, the moral condition of the woman, the proper place and nature of worship, Jesus’ declaration that He is the Messiah, and the woman’s response of witnessing. In relation to the other lessons, the main theme of the Gospel is that Jesus is the water of life giving eternal life. He can give this living water because He is the Messiah. Jesus says, “Salvation is from the Jews.” Our salvation has its roots in the history of the Hebrews. It began with Abraham. Through the centuries God has been writing a salvation history through words and events culminating in Jesus the Jew. The New Testament cannot be fully understood apart from the Old.
Saturday, 22 March 2014—Psalm 67:1-2; Psalm 96:10-13; Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 62:1-2—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is May God Bestow on Us His Grace (LSB #824). The inspiration for this Luther hymn is a prayer of David echoing the priestly benediction recorded in Number 6:24-26.
Sources: Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use