Reading, Revelation 7:9-17
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, singing, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’
Reading, Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.’
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that on the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
Reading, Mark 10:46-52 (The Inclusive Bible)
They came to Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho with the disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus ben-Timaeus, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, “Heir of David, Jesus, have pity on me!”
Many people scolded him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the louder, “Heir of David, have pity on me!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man. “Don’t be afraid,” they said. “Get up; Jesus is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, Bartimaeus jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Rabbuni,” the blind man said, “I want to see.” Jesus replied, “Go, your faith has saved you.” And immediately Bartimaeus received the gift of sight and began to follow Jesus along the road.
Poem, “Blind Bartimaeus”
You thought he was blind.
Hidden from the world and passers by,
just a dirty hand outstretched,
ignored by fear and good intentions alike.
But he could see.
He could see Jesus
Coming from life in the hillside
Toward death in the City of Peace.
Bartimaeus cried out to him
With courage and candor
naming Jesus with steady words:
The Son of David.
The One who has Mercy.
The One has foretold it three times:
This is it. All of it. For you.
And still they shushed him,
either because he was blind
or because he could see everything
more clearly than the ones
who kept order – and him on the curb.
The kingdom of God is like
throwing off your cloak
and daring see what is
terrible and wonderful and true.
The kingdom of God is like
speaking it plain because
you have nothing to lose
only love to gain.
Reading, John 4:5-30 (The Inclusive Bible)
He stopped at Sychar, a town in Samaria, near the tract of land Jacob had given to his son Joseph, and Jacob’s Well was there. Jesus, weary from the journey, came and sat by the well it was around noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” The disciples had gone off to the town to buy provisions. The Samaritan woman replied, “You’re a Jew. How can you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?” since Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans.
Jesus answered, “If only you recognized God’s gift, and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would have asked him for a drink instead, and he would have given you living water.” “If you please,” she challenged Jesus, “you don’t have a bucket and this well is deep. Where do you expect to get this “living water’? Surely you don’t pretend to be greater than our ancestors Leah and Rachel and Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it with their descendants and flocks?”
Jesus replied, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give them will never be thirsty, no, the water I give will become fountains within them, springing up to provide eternal life.” The woman said to Jesus, “Give me this water, so that I won’t grow thirsty and have to keep coming all the way here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband and then come back here.” “I don’t have a husband,” replied the woman. “You’re right—you don’t have a husband!” Jesus exclaimed. “The fact is, you’ve had five, and the man you’re living with now is not your husband. So what you’ve said is quite true.”
“I can see you’re a prophet,” answered the woman. “Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you people claim that Jerusalem is the place where God ought to be worshiped.” Jesus told her, “Believe me, the hour is coming when you’ll worship Abba God neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you don’t understand; we worship what we do understand—after all, salvation is from the Jewish people. Yet the hour is coming—and is already here—when real worshipers will worship Abba God in Spirit and truth. Indeed, it is just such worshipers whom Abba God seeks. God is Spirit, and those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth.”
The woman said to Jesus, “I know that the Messiah—the Anointed One—is coming and will tell us everything.” Jesus replied, “I who speak to you am the Messiah.”
The disciples, returning at this point, were shocked to find Jesus having a private conversation with a woman. But no one dared to ask, “What do you want of him?” or “Why are you talking with her?” The woman then left her water jar and went off into the town. She said to the people, “come and see someone who told me everything I have ever done! Could this be the Messiah?” At that, everyone set out from town to meet Jesus.
Poem, “The Samaritan Woman”
The daily chores are impatient with her pride
and time has yet to mend her grief.
She is numb and raw. Even still.
The piles of laundry need scrubbing.
The kettles and tubs need filling.
Everything begins at the well.
The neighbors are always watching,
even when their eyes dart away.
They know she is aching to belong,
for dignity that would require they see her.
But opening their circles would change things.
Too many things. So they leave her alone.
The sun is high. She is thirsty and so is he.
He speaks and everything is cracked open.
The conversation tangles around and through
her weary work, her lonely life, her wild baggage
that can no longer embarrass or writhe with protest.
She is quenched and overflows even still.