Third Sunday of Lent

Contributed by Rev. Valerie Andrews. This is the third in a series of blog posts for Lent. Scripture readings for the third Sunday of Lent are Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42.

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“Moses Striking the Rock” by Qi He

All too often, God demonstrates the divine love toward us through answered prayers, unexpected blessings, miracles, and so much more! But many of us are quick to forget that God is always with us, regardless of where we are on the journey that God has commanded we take.

In Exodus 17:1-7, we find the children of Israel, actively moving on their journey as commanded by God. Soon, they stop and are in a place of rest, yet there is no water. In their disbelief, the Israelites lash out at Moses and accuse him of leading them out of Egypt to a place where they, their children, and cattle would die of thirst. Moses, unbearably frustrated with the constant murmuring and complaining, cries out to God for help as he discerns “death by stoning” swiftly approaching the horizon.

The LORD then instructs Moses to go ahead of the people, and take with him the elders of Israel and a rod. God assures Moses that God would be on the scene as Moses and the Israelites come up to the rock of Horeb. Once Moses hits the rock with the rod, water flows from it and the people are able to quench their thirst. How could it have been that the children of Israel had so quickly forgotten what the LORD had done for them in times past? After all, in Exodus 15, had God not provided them with sweet water in Marah? Shortly thereafter, in chapter 16, hadn’t God made available enough manna and quails to eat in the desert of Sin, as the Israelites are told to gather as much food as they can eat? So, how could they forget?

Similar to the children of Israel, we too often forget what the LORD has done (or is doing) for us when we are on our own journey commanded by God. As soon as the way seems dark and dreary, we lose hope. The voyage becomes hard to bear and there is no water in our barren lands. Like the Israelites, we lose all prior knowledge and memory of a faithful God; we begin to thirst for, complain against, murmur to, and raise our fists in a one-on-one brawl with God.

Lest we forget!

During this season of Lent, let us call to mind those many times we have failed to remember the goodness of the LORD. Let us examine our hearts and repent of our lack of faith and in our inability to trust in the One who is always with us, willing and able to supply our every need! If God has commanded our journeys in a waterless place, let us not forget to “[be] confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 1:6, KJV).

 Rev Valerie AndrewsRev. Valerie Andrews serves as associate minister at Church of the Redeemer, Philadelphia, PA, and is national events coordinator for American Baptist Women’s Ministries.

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