Messy Church this month is Friday, April 13.
We were really pleased with the turn out at the last Messy Church despite it being the beginning of March break and the new day. It was great to see so many familiar faces.
As well as changing the day we also shifted the time to 5:30pm – 7:30pm.
The theme this month is Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well. As usual there is a variety of activities. You can read more about our theme below.
The culinary feature this month is Janet Armstrong’s famous sausage casserole. I don’t even like sausages but this is so tasty I always go back for a second helping. Hope to see you there.
Also, just a reminder about this year’s Kid’s Camp. The theme is Rolling River Rampage and the date is July 2 – 6. This is a half day camp from 9:00 to 12:00. There are crafts, science experiments, games, stories, tasty treats and great songs. Each camper receives a Rolling River Rampage T-shirt and CD with the music of Kid’s Camp. Kid’s Camp is for children between 4 and 9. Read more and get a registration form here.
Hope to see you soon.
JESUS AND THE SAMARITAN WOMAN AT THE WELL
This story is unique to the Gospel of John, as are many other stories about Jesus. It is a complex story in that there are many details about the time and culture that we need to know for us to truly understand the importance of what is happening in the story. The Jews despised Samaritans and vice versa. When the 12 tribes of Israel settled in the promised land the tribe of Judah (the word Jew comes from Judah) was the southernmost tribe surrounded by dessert on three sides. The other tribes intermingled and intermarried with the surrounding peoples whereas the more isolated tribe of Judah remained ‘pure’ and they treated the northern tribes with contempt. The northern tribes added some of the aspects of the other religions, with their worship of God, further isolating them from their southern cousins. The tribe of Judah became more powerful.
Enmity grew between the tribe of Judah and the other tribes, who in Jesus’ time were referred to as Samaritans as they lived in the land of Samaria. It was highly unusual for Jesus to engage a Samaritan in conversation, especially a theological discussion.
The second thing that is important is that it was unthinkable for a man to engage in conversation with an unknown woman. To ask her for something was in a grey area, but to then go on to a conversation would be unthinkable for a decent man or woman to do. Hence the shock of the disciples when they returned to see Jesus talking to a woman.
Women normally were the ones responsible for getting the days water for the family. This was done in the morning before the heat of the day and it was a time of social interaction for the women, away from the family. Going in a group was also a safety issue. For this woman to be at the well alone, and in the heat of the day was abnormal. She was socially isolated, an outcast and we learn in her conversation with Jesus that she was living with a man to whom she was not married. She was scorned, isolated and vulnerable, but her spirit was not broken. She engaged in a spirited and Spirit filled debate with Jesus, with humour and a knowledge of her own faith. For this woman to return to her community so changed and so filled with the light of Jesus that the people not only stopped to listen to this outcast, but actually acted on what she had to say and went to see this remarkable man, was a miracle.
The circumstances of this encounter were quite remarkable but the words of Jesus “the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14b) are part of the scriptural tradition. Living water appears as early as Genesis and is found in the writings of the prophets and the psalms. Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us to teach us, to guide us , to help us on our journey into an ever deepening relationship with God.
It is a beautiful story of God’s love, of God’s inclusiveness, of God’s ability to heal. It is our story.