The following is the fourth installment in a weekly Lenten devotional for families, by Mary Jane Pierce Norton of the UMC’s Discipleship Ministries. We hope it helps you to know God a little better during these solemn forty days of repentance and preparation.
Week 3 – Week of March 19: Jesus Gives Us Living Water
Scripture: John 4:5-42
Symbol: Pitcher of Water
Discussion & Activity: Read together John 4:5-42. While this may be a familiar story for you, it may not be as familiar to children and youth. It’s a great testimony to the fact that we do not have to be perfect to experience God’s love. This Samaritan woman was not perfect. We don’t know all of her story. We only know what is written here, and there is just enough information to realize she had lived a life that wasn’t perfect. But Jesus offered her God’s love. And she believed and told others. She became a disciple – one who learns from a wise teacher – that day at the well. And the water reminded her – and us – that God gives us what we need for life.
Part of her ability to believe came because Jesus offered love and acceptance to her. Sometimes when we deal with one another within the family, we find ourselves not able to truly love and accept one another. Something another does makes us angry, or sad, or impatient. God doesn’t ask us to forget those actions. God asks us to continue loving and caring for one another, even as we try to change actions that hurt others. Talk together about what it means to show love to one another, even though we do things we shouldn’t do. Make a list together of ways to show love to others.
Pour water for each person. Drink the water and reflect on how it nourishes us and helps us have life.
This week, make a list for each person in the family. This can include those who live in the household and/or those who live in other places. Use a separate sheet of paper for each person. At the top of the paper, put the name of the person. Under the name, put ways others in the family can show love to that person. During the week, ask each family member to do one thing for all others in the family from their lists.
Dear Lord. We know you forgive us when we sin, but it’s hard to admit to those sins.
It’s hard for us to trust that you will forgive us. And it’s hard to trust that those in our family will forgive us as well.
Help us focus on ways we can show love and trust to one another. Help us keep our trust in you.