John 4: 5-42

Illustrated New Resources

  • A Heavenly Well Full of Spiritual Gifts

    by Craig Condon
    In his article entitled “The Last Crusade”, Major V. Gilbert told of the early 20th century battle for Palestine against the Turks. At one point Allied forces outpaced the camel caravan that was carrying their water. There were wells in the territory occupied by the enemy. Gilbert rote, “We fought that day as men fight for their lives. If such were our thirst for God and for righteousness, for his will in our life, a consuming, all-embracing, preoccupying desire, how rich the fruit of the spirit would we be.” This is a good lesson for all of us to learn.
  • Sermon Starters (Lent 3A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Among other things, the Samaritan woman at the well was a spiritual seeker. Some years ago, writer Eugene Peterson found an analogy for modern spiritual quests in, of all things, a Winnie the Pooh story. In one of the many tales from the Hundred-Acre Woods, Christopher Robin and company decide to set out one day in search of the North Pole. At one point along the way, young Roo falls into a stream and needs to be rescued. Pooh Bear eventually uses a long pole to fish his friend out of the water. Once this emergency had passed, the animals stand around and discuss what had just happened. As they are talking, Christopher Robin notices that Pooh is standing there with the rescue pole still in his paw. “Pooh, where did you get that pole?” “I just found it earlier,” Pooh replies. “I thought it might be useful.” “Pooh,” Christopher Robin says excitedly, “the expedition is over! You have found the North Pole!” “Oh,” says Pooh, “I did?” Eventually Christopher Robin sinks the pole into the ground and hangs a flag on it with this message: “The North Pole, Discovered by Pooh. Pooh Found It.” Then they all go home again, satisfied that this quest was successful...
  • Tickled By the Racy Svetlana

    by Dawn Hutchings
    I must confess that I don’t spend much time laughing with God. Listen to this quote from the writings of St. Teresa: “Just these two words God spoke changed my life, “Enjoy Me.” “What a burden I thought I was to carry—a crucifix, as did Christ. “Love” which is Teresa’s name for God. “Love once said to me, ‘I know a song would you like to hear it?’ And laughter came from every brick in the street and from every pore in the sky. After a night of prayer, God changed my life when God sang, “Enjoy Me.” Enjoy Me. What a different place the world would be if we could only hear God beseeching us, “Enjoy Me.”...
  • Fill My Cup, Lord

    Art and Theology by Victoria Jones
    Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up, Lord; Come and quench this thirsting of my soul. Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more. Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole. Richard Blanchard (1925–2004) was an American Methodist minister and gospel songwriter. This most famous song of his was inspired by the story of the marginalized Samaritan woman whom Jesus engaged in conversation as the two of them were gathering water at a public well (John 4:1–45). Seeing that the woman was not only physically thirsty but also had a deep spiritual thirst, Jesus offered her “living water.”...
  • Jesus Gave Me Water

    Art and Theology by Victoria Jones
    Lucie E. Campbell’s song “Jesus Gave Me Water” was first recorded by Artis Kitchen in 1947. For a partial list of subsequent covers, see I like Sam Cooke’s version best, from 1951, when he was singing lead for the Soul Stirrers—no one can beat his honey-smooth vocals. You might know him, as I first did, as the singer of hits like “You Send Me,” “Chain Gang,” “Another Saturday Night,” “Twisting the Night Away,” “Cupid,” and “A Change Is Gonna Come.” (I have fond memories of listening to Oldies 100.7 FM in car rides with my dad growing up!) But like many famous soul singers, Cooke, a PK (preacher’s kid), got his start singing at church, at age six. His leadership of the popular black gospel group the Soul Stirrers from 1951 to 1956 propelled his career, and he crossed over into pop with great success...
  • How Should We Carry the Weight and Worry That Come With Life?

    by Terrance Klein
    You have a bucket, don’t you? One that you lug around most everywhere, most every waking moment. Sometimes, it even keeps you from sleep. What’s in the bucket? The weight and worry that come with your life. There are loved ones in there. Why won’t the Good Lord answer your prayers for them? There are changes you’d like to see in yourself. You’ve tried, but nothing has worked. There are fears you already face and there is the gnawing worry about what may come your way. The bucket grows heavier, but you can no more set it down than you can stop living. You’ve got a bucket. And you are the one who comes to the well...
  • Lent 3A (2020)

    by Kate Matthews
    Not long ago, I listened to my very first TED talk and NOW I finally understand what all the fuss is about: it was amazing! I listened to the wonderful writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, talk about "The danger of the single story." Somehow, she was graceful, funny, insightful and wise--all in twenty minutes of sharing experiences from her own life, as she learned about the power of stories, and about the many different stories that make us who we are. Like her story about growing up in Nigeria, comfortable and middle-class on a university campus where her father was a professor: her family, like many others, had "domestic help" who came from a nearby village, a boy named Fide whose poverty moved Adichie to pity whenever her mother offered his family extra food and old clothes. Adjusting our perspective That was how Adichie thought of Fide: as "a poor boy." So when she visited Fide's home, she was shocked when his family showed her a beautiful patterned basket made by Fide's brother. That didn't fit into the "single story" she had in her head about Fide's family: she didn't think they could do anything but "be poor." And then, when she came to school in America, she was dismayed that her roommate asked her how she learned to speak English so well (English is Nigeria's official language), and when her roommate asked her to play some of her "tribal" music, it was her turn to be dismayed when Adichie played a Mariah Carey CD...
  • Looking for a Big Nose

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Everyone needs drinking water. Whether you are wandering through the wilderness (Exodus 17:1-7) or through the Samaritan countryside (John 4:5-42), you are going to need water. So you are always looking for a well or a river or some other way to stay hydrated. Clean, drinkable water means survival. No survival. In Rome, Italy, you won't need to look hard for clean, drinkable water. Around Rome are more than 2,500 public drinking fountains called nasoni (literally "big noses"). The fountains were first placed in the early 1870s. The nasoni are made of cast iron and deliver fresh, cold water that travels through 70 miles of channels from the Peschiera reservoir to and through the city of Rome...
  • Filled with Living Water

    by Chana Tetzlaff
    Deep in the heart of the West Bank stands a stone church guarded by a thin, wizened, Christian priest with a long white beard. He has been there for decades, despite living under the constant threat of death, escaping a death plot sixteen times. A crumbling chunk of the wall bears witness to the time someone threw a hand grenade at him. This priest, who spends his days writing icons, lived in the church for 14 years while surrounded by a hostile army, refusing to abandon the treasure he guards. He once refused a $1 million grant from Yasser Arafat to continue construction of the church because he did not want any political strings attached to his mission to keep the church open to people of all walks of faith. This priest is the protector of a treasure of the three Abrahamic faiths, and he fights with his simple, quiet presence to keep the site open to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. He is the guardian of the treasure that sits deep at the very heart of the church...
  • The Woman at the Well

    by Debie Thomas
    As theologian Barbara Brown Taylor points out, Jesus’s dialogue with the woman at the well is his longest recorded conversation in the New Testament. He talks to the Samaritan woman longer than he talks to his twelve disciples, or to his accusers, or even to his own family members. Moreover, she is the first person (and the first ethnic/religious outsider) to whom Jesus reveals his identity in John’s Gospel. And — this might be the most compelling fact of all — she is the first believer in any of the Gospels to straightaway become an evangelist, and bring her entire city to a saving knowledge of Jesus. So much for fallen women!...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • Change of Attitude

    Illustrations from the Archives
  • Changed Lives

    Illustrations from the Archives
  • Love of Others

    Illustrations from the Archives
  • Prejudice

    Illustrations from the Archives
  • Velma Barfield

    (An Illustration)
  • The Woman at the Well (2002)

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("Author John Sherill of Guideposts magazine tells of stopping by The Lord's Ranch, in the desert just outside El Paso, Texas. The Lord's Ranch houses many of the volunteers who work with the so-called "rag pickers of Juarez," people who sift through the dumps of Juarez, Mexico, for anything that can be sold...")
  • The Woman At the Well (1999)

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("A cake decorator was asked by a bride to inscribe I John 4:18 on a wedding cake: 'There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear'. Unfortunately, the decorator didn't know the Bible very well...")
  • Agents of Transformation

    by Sil Galvan
    As a salesman in the cookware business, I conducted dinner demonstrations where I prepared meals for six to eight couples whom the hostess had invited into her home. The demonstrations enabled me to sell cookware to the hostess and guests. I then delivered the cookware to the purchasers and taught them how to use it on their own stoves. After I had been in business for a period of time, I realized that I needed some help. I ran an ad in the local newspaper, and a woman named Gerry responded. The interview with her went quite well. She explained to me that the job certainly sounded interesting and that she loved to cook. She even assured me that she did not mind washing dishes or cleaning the kitchen; however, she was shy and did not relate to people. Therefore, I must never call on her to participate in the demonstration. I could live with that, so I hired her.
  • Lent 3A

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • Jesus Met the Woman at the Well (Video)

    Performed by Peter, Paul and Mary
    (African American spiritual)
  • Exegetical Notes (John 4:5-42)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (always excellent exegesis with numerous quotes from commentaries on this text)

Narrative Sermons from the Archives

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2017 to 2019

  • That Woman

    by Jim Chern
    Over a year ago, I saw this article that really struck me - but that I was afraid to use because of the political overtones to it. Overtones that post-election I thought would have abated by now. But... well... anyway. That reality aside, the story is almost too important not to share. It’s about Monica Lewinsky. For those of you not aware, quite simply, she had an adulterous affair with President Bill Clinton (while she was an intern at the White House). Here was a wide-eyed, naivete, young woman in her 20's who had gone from basically anonymous to enamored by a very powerful man who was attracted to her to a headline story. She describes it like this: "Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide. Granted, it was before social media, but people could still comment online, email stories, and, of course, email cruel jokes. I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo, and, of course, ‘that woman’. It was easy to forget that ‘that woman’ was dimensional, had a soul, and was once unbroken."...
  • Touching the Lives of Others

    by Delmer Chilton
    When I was in seminary, I heard about a South Carolina pastor’s careful efforts to introduce the “passing of the peace” to his congregation. He was very anxious about it because, like many long-established congregations, they did not adapt to change easily. Finally, the fateful day came when he turned from the altar and said to the congregation, in what he hoped was a warm and encouraging voice, “The peace of the Lord be with you always!” “And also with you,” came the mumbled, almost hushed, reply. Stepping bravely out of his appointed place in the chancel, the pastor went forward to the front row to shake the hand of the woman there and greet her with words of peace. She was someone he barely knew, who only sporadically attended services and always slipped out during the last hymn. The moment his hand touched her hand—her face crumbled, her eyes flowed with tears, and she fled the building by a side door.
  • The Woman at the Well

    by Dan Clendenin
    This past January I read the book Lethal Decisions: The Unnecessary Deaths of Women and Children from HIV/AIDS (2017) by Arthur Ammann. For the last fifty years, Art has been not just a leading expert at the center of the AIDS crisis, but also a tireless and vocal activist, especially for the women and children who have been impacted by HIV-AIDS, but also ignored, and especially women and children in the poorest parts of the poorest countries of the world (like war zones). His friend and colleague Gottlieb has called him "the conscience of the pediatric HIV epidemic." His book is a highly personal, deeply passionate, and even polemical history of the defining public health crisis of our generation.
  • The Samaritan Woman

    by Jim Eaton
    There’s a story about a woman in an evangelical church who was very judgmental. One day she got the Deacons to invite a noted fire and brimstone preacher to visit. He said, “God is going to judge everyone! Everyone who has take the Lord’s name in vain, you’re going to have God’s judgment!” “Amen!”, the woman shouted. “Everyone who has looked with lust is going to have God’s judgment!” he shouted. “Amen! Preach it!”, she said, rocking in her pew with her enthusiasm. “Everyone who gambles and plays bingo is going to have God’s judgment!”, he yelled. And the woman stopped rocking and said to her neighbor, the one who had won $5 just last night with her at bingo, “Well, now he’s stopped preaching and gone to meddling.”
  • The Rest of the Story

    by Evan Garner
    When I was in eighth grade, my neighbor and best friend's father drove the two of us to school in his green 1976 Chevrolet pickup truck. Every morning, as we approached the school, Paul Harvey would give us the news and tell us a heartwarming story. If you remember that radio segment, you will recall that he would begin the story, interrupt it with a commercial read, and then pick back up with "the rest of the story." We loved that show. I loved it so much that, during the next year when it was my father's turn to drive me to high school, I insisted that we listen to Paul Harvey on the way. Like so many listeners, I always wanted to hear "the rest of the story"--the surprise ending that pulled all the pieces together and revealed what it was that made the story worth listening to in the first place.
  • Water for ALL Who Thirst

    by Beth Johnston
    A number of years ago, long before cell phones became common, a friend of mine had car trouble and she was stopped by the side of a busy road. She tried to flag down a car and finally, a car pulled to the side of the road a good distance ahead. She had written the number of the auto-club on a piece of paper and gave it to the well dressed middle-aged couple, along with a quarter and they agreed to make the call and drove off. She went back to her car to wait. By and by a guy driving a beat-up pickup pulled up behind her. She opened her window a crack to talk to him because he did not look like a trustworthy sort. She smelled the alcohol on his breath almost immediately. He offered to call the auto-club for her and off he went. By and by the tow truck came and hooked her car up. As she got in the cab the driver said, “Ma’am, I almost didn’t come, the call centre said that the guy who called it in sounded drunk or stoned or something and that it was up to me if I responded”.
  • What the Woman of Roe vs. Wade and the Woman at the Well Have in Common

    by Terrance Klein
    Consider the story of Norma McCorvey. Her father left when she was 13; her mother was a violent alcoholic. Reform school represented the best years of her life, freeing her from a sexually abusive relative. Married at 16, she left the husband who assaulted her and put their baby up for adoption. Yet Norma’s life didn’t improve. No more marriages but two more children, both put up for adoption. The third pregnancy gained great fame, because NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, needed a plaintiff who was poor, someone without the means to obtain a foreign abortion. That’s how Norma McCorvey became the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that found a right to abortion in the constitutional protection of privacy.
  • Lent 3A (2017)

    by David Lyle
    I have been reading the first Harry Potter book to my daughter at bedtime. It had been a while since I’d read of young Harry’s entry into the wizarding world, and many fond memories have bubbled up to the surface. As we got deeper into the book, however, something began to bother her. Before Hermione emerges as a main character, she’s just Harry’s classmate and a bit of a know-it-all—and she got on my daughter’s nerves. So it was with great delight that we reached the end of chapter 10. After a harrowing encounter with a troll, we see the effect upon Hermione, Harry, and Ron: There was a very embarrassed pause. Then, none of them looking at each other, they all said “Thanks,” and hurried off to get plates. But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them. Finding Refreshment
  • Finding Refreshment

    by Kate Matthews
    I got to listen to this wonderful writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, talk about "The danger of the single story." Like her story about growing up in Nigeria, comfortable and middle-class on a university campus where her father was a professor: her family, like many others, had "domestic help" who came from a nearby village, a boy named Fide whose poverty moved Adichie to pity whenever her mother offered his family extra food and old clothes. That was how Adichie thought of Fide: as "a poor boy." So when she visited Fide's home, she was shocked when his family showed her a beautiful patterned basket made by Fide's brother. That didn't fit into the "single story" she had in her head about Fide's family: she didn't think they could do anything but "be poor." And then, when she came to school in America, she was dismayed that her roommate asked her how she learned to speak English so well (English is Nigeria's official language), and when her roommate asked her to play some of her "tribal" music, it was her turn to be dismayed when Adichie played a Mariah Carey CD.
  • Encounters with Jesus: Woman at the Well

    by Jim McCrea
    His conversation with this nameless woman also intentionally crosses age-old cultural barriers between the genders. No self-respecting man in those days would be caught talking to a woman in public — even if it were his mother or his wife. The very thought of it was scandalous. People might get the wrong idea, you know. There was only one exception — when a man would hang out by a well looking for a potential bride. That’s how Isaac, Jacob and Moses all met their wives. And those encounters began very much like this one does between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. So she might be forgiven if, early on in this conversation, she may have been thinking that this playful repartee with Jesus was leading up to one more pick-up line from yet another egotistical male. After all, women didn’t normally come to a well during the heat of the midday unless they were of questionable reputation. So she may have thought things were going to head that way. But they weren’t.
  • At the Well (John)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The conversation may be either clarified or further confused when filtered through the brush of Indian artist Frank Wesley (1923-2003). Wesley places Jesus and the woman in proximity to a well and to each other. The conversation proceeds. But there are some unusual touches to this artist's interpretation. Jesus wears the saffron robes of an Indian holy man. He is sitting in the half-lotus posture (a traditional yoga posture). His blue skin identified with Krishna, and his forehead glows gold. This is Jesus who speaks across cultures and is found near wells in all communities.
  • Reading Between the Lines

    by Larry Patten
    I have witnessed similar tears in the grief support groups I now lead for a hospice. One person says something to another. The words were spoken with love and empathy. One person hears something from another. It was received with understanding and a sense of connection. The grieving person, speaker or listener or both, discovers they are not alone. And the person weeps. They are known. They are loved and not judged. They are seen as fully human and completely a child of God. Yes, I read between the lines.
  • Still Thirsty

    by Andrew Prior
    I can only ask that Hope Publishing, and Brian Wren, will forgive me for posting this text in full. In the ongoing circles of life, I come back to it, and find deerp truth. I have no bucket, and the well is deep. My thirst is endless, and my throat is dry. I ask you, stranger, silent at my side, can words refresh my longings if you speak? I have no bucket, and the well is deep. Can love unbar the strongrooms of the mind and scour the tombs and warrens underground for toys and treasures lost, or never found, for all I cannot name, yet ache to find? I have no bucket, and the well is deep.
  • The Road to Samaria

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    When I was growing up we had a joke in our family about my father's shortcuts. Whenever we were off on a trip somewhere he always knew a quicker way to get there, or back home. I remember one time when I was about 10 years old we were on the way home one night. My father decided to take one of his shortcuts. He made a turn to the left, went around a curve, took the first right, then back to the left, and we wound up in the middle of a cornfield. At one point in his ministry Jesus was in the area of Judea. He had been there on his preaching, teaching mission and word came to him that the Pharisees were hearing that he was baptizing more people than John the Baptist. The Pharisees were greatly concerned about all the excitement being stirred up. So Jesus decided it would be better if he went back up to the area of Galilee. He chose the road to Samaria.
  • Wounds and Wells

    by Nadia Bolz Weber
    You have heard it said that water finds it’s lowest point – well, living water finds your lowest point The Living water offered by Jesus Christ finds your lowest point. It flows to your original wound. The thing that you spend so much energy trying to heal through all the insufficient ways – relationships, religion, success, more graduate degrees, more therapy, working out, trying to get your parents to love you more. There are a million ways we try to use substitutes for God to try and make sure our damage is not seen. James Allison says faith is relaxing. I think this is what happened to the woman at the well. I think living water found a crack in her defenses and trickled down to her lowest point, her deepest wound, her greatest need and she finally exhaled. In fact, she relaxed so much she totally left her water jar at the well.

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2014 to 2016

  • The Inescapable God

    by Christopher Burkett
    ("The famous psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl, once repeated a public poll amongst his own patients and clinic personnel. The original poll had found 89% of respondents admitted that they needed 'something' for the sake of which to live. And further, an incredible 61% said there was something or someone in their own lives for whom they were even ready to die. Frankl's own survey produced similar findings, and he concluded,'In other words, the will to meaning is in most people fact, not faith'..." and several other quotes)
  • He Meets Us

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("It can happen anywhere and anytime. It happened near Bethlehem one night. A couple of shepherds were going about their ordinary everyday task of looking after sheep on the edge of town. It was just another night like any other night and wham out of the blue, with no invitation, completely unexpected, something happened that changed their lives forever. They weren't looking for the Saviour, God brought them to him. It rarely happens that we are the ones who move towards God. Far more often it is God who moves toward us...")
  • A Story Worth Telling

    by Janet Hunt
    ("Every story worth telling begins with something being out of place. Every story worth re-telling begins with a conflict. Every story told over and over again is about obstacles overcome -- or not. Otherwise there is no story. A couple of weeks ago I officiated at the funeral of a 91 year old World War II Veteran. He had been a bomber pilot in the South Pacific and had to land his plane in an emergency on a different aircraft carrier than the one they had taken off from earlier. He did this in the dark. When he and his crew woke up the next morning, others looked at him and shook their heads and pointed at his plane and said, 'That plane is too big to land on this carrier.' And yet, it had...")
  • Stay Where You're At 'Till I Come Where You're To!

    by Beth Johnston
    I used to love watching All in the Family. One of my favourite episodes told us the story of Archie's surgery. He needed blood during the surgery and it was donated by a black nurse, a fact that was the cause of some good natured ribbing from Gloria and Meathead and a lot of consternation on Archie's part. The fact is though, blood type knows no racial barriers; as long as it's the right type, its okay...
  • The Stranger Effect

    by Terrence Klein
    ("historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto accounts for the peaceful reception of Spanish explorers by many, though by no means all, American Indians by citing what he calls the 'stranger effect', which is: 'the propensity some cultures have to receive the stranger with exceptional honor. In our modern Western societies, the propensity is hard to understand, since our attitude to strangers is like that of the peoples who resisted the Spaniards...")
  • Away with Despair (John and Exodus)

    by John Martens
    ("When my oldest son was a little boy, he was shopping with my mother and father and saw something on a display shelf that he wanted. He said so. 'I want that, I want that'. My mother explained that you cannot have everything you want, but that we buy what we need. He thought about that for a while and then said, 'I need that, I need that.'...")
  • No Longer Outcast

    by Steve Pankey
    ("When I was a first grader at Bucher Elementary School there was only one shoe that you had to have to fit in on the playground: a pair of high-top Chuck Taylor All-Stars. My parents, frugal as they were, wouldn't spend the money to buy a pair of real Chuck's, so I wore the K-Mart equivalent, and was teased by spoiled brat rich kids whose parents bought them Chuck's in every color under the sun...")
  • The Scandalous Woman

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ("Hosea dearly loved and married a prostitute, Gomer, who ran off and had sex with another man, then came back home when Hosea sought her. Is John drawing a picture of Jesus as Hosea here, and telling us the same truth about God's deep love, and in particular about the Cup we share? Is the woman at the well Jesus' Gomer, and by extension, all of us?....")
  • Risking God's Mercy

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("Shortly after ordination, doing replacement work in a parish, I found myself in a rectory with a saintly old priest. He was over eighty, nearly blind, but widely sought out and respected, especially as a confessor. One night, alone with him, I asked him this question: 'If you had your priesthood to live over again, would you do anything differently?'...")
  • Dropping the Mask We Hide Behind

    by Wiley Stephens
    ("A reporter once asked the great opera singer Marion Anderson to describe the proudest moment of her life. She has many to choose from like the day the great Toscanini said she had the finest voice of the twentieth century. How did Marion Anderson respond to the question, The proudest moment of my life was the day I walked into my house and told my Mama that she didn't have to take in washing anymore.'...")
  • Crossing Borders

    by Danny Stone
    ("On December 9th, 2013, Sanaz Nezam was declared brain dead. Her husband, Nima Nassiri, was in the Houghton County jail facing domestic assault charges. Nurses researched the special care required for a Muslim woman, but contacting Sanaz's family was difficult. Since the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979 to 1981, the United States has not had an embassy in Tehran...")
  • Thirst

    by Robert Stuhlmann
    ("When Mary Oliver's partner of many years died, she wrote a series of poems entitled . Her reflections are the thirst to see and perceive with such eyes. 'Another morning I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have. I walk to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. O Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your mercy, a little more time...")
  • The Miracle Molecule

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Islanders are water people. But the water that surrounds an island is not so much a barrier as it's a buffer. All that liquid cushions the blows that the off-island world throws our way. Islanders aren't cut off so much as they are bound together. Sometimes for better. Sometimes for worse. But always until the next ferry arrives. If we let our lives go with the flow, the water makes us different...")
  • When the Well Runs Dry

    by Keith Wagner
    ("a pastor had just finished a service which included a baptism and was preparing to turn off the lights in the church when he noticed a woman sitting in the first pew. When he approached her, she said her name was Mildred Cory, and she commented on how lovely the baptism had been. After another long pause, she added, 'My daughter, Tina, just had a baby, and, well, the baby ought to be baptized, shouldn't it?..." and another illustration)
  • Images of the Samaritan Woman

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Repentance

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2011 to 2013

  • Lent 3A (2011)

    by Delmer Chilton
    "One of the 'new things' that the 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship introduced was the passing of the peace. This was not met with, um, universal enthusiasm shall we say, amongst traditionally stoic and reserved German Lutherans in the South. One pastor had written a newsletter article about it, preached a sermon about it. Finally, the fateful day came when he turned from the Altar and said to the congregation, in what he hoped was a warm and encouraging voice, 'The Peace of the Lord be with you!'..."
  • Living for More Than Bread and Water

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("The Brazilian Paulo Coelho's books have sold 100 million copies, been translated into 70 languages, and sold in 150 countries. But life was not always so sweet for Coelho. When he followed his childhood dream of being a writer, his parents twice committed him to a mental institution, where his treatments included electroconvulsive therapy....")
  • Thirst for More Than Water

    by Denis Hanly, MM
    There is a thirst in every human heart. Each of us is like that lonely Samaritan woman. We are thirsting for something, something that will satisfy all our longings. But often we search in the wrong places. We draw the water from many wells: the water of praise to quench our thirst for self-esteem; the water of success to quench our thirst for importance; the water of pleasure to quench our thirst for joy. And, yet, we still remain thirsty. For only God can give us what we are looking for. God alone can cause a spring to well up inside us and the water from this spring will sustain us in our journey to the Promised Land of everlasting life.”...
  • Lent 3A (2017)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Some years ago, writer Eugene Peterson found an analogy for modern spiritual quests in, of all things, a Winnie the Pooh story. In one of the many tales from the Hundred-Acre Woods, Christopher Robin and company decide to set out one day in search of the North Pole...")
  • In Spirit and Truth

    by Fred Kane
    ("I think it was back in 1979 when there were American hostages in Iran. The first contact that the West had with the hostages was at Christmas when they allowed clergy to go in and conduct religious services on Christmas Day. William Sloane Coffin, at that time the preacher at Riverside Church in New York, was one of those ministers that went in there...")
  • Mistaken Identity

    by Linda Kraft
    ("A few weeks ago I read a book called, Take and Eat by Sara Miles. Publisher's Weekly had this to say about the book: 'Miles...loves Jesus and detests the religious right, though she is also critical of "the sappy, Jesus-and-cookies tone of mild-mannered liberal Christianity". Mild-mannered she is not...")
  • Lent 3A (2011)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("Nearly twenty years ago, I set out with a friend on a pilgrimage by bicycle of over a thousand miles. After a day's hard riding, we came to a little village called Matlock to stay the night. We were tired; we were hungry we were unhappy...")
  • Lent 3A (2011)

    by Dorothy Okray
    ("What most Americans don't realize is that Muslims also ask the question, "Why do they hate us?" Why do Americans (and many in the West) hate Muslims? Why? Because we have wrongly equated Muslims with terrorists. The media and our own prejudices have dehumanized and even demonized Muslims — resulting in irrational fear and hatred...") (You will need to highlight the text with your mouse in order to read it but it is there!!)
  • You Fit the Description

    by Larry Patten
    ("Once, while jogging to my cabin, two men ordered me to stop. They were aggressive, grim-faced, and confrontational. They flashed badges. Undercover park rangers. Yikes! They barraged me with questions . . . Why was I running? Where did I live? Where was I staying? Where was I going? Who was I with?...")
  • A Well-Blessed Woman

    by Jan Richardson
    ("If you stand at the edge of this blessing and call down into it, you will hear your words return to you. If you lean in and listen close, you will hear this blessing give the story of your life back to you. Quiet your voice quiet your judgment quiet the way you always tell your story to yourself....")
  • Risking God's Mercy

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("Shortly after ordination, doing replacement work in a parish, I found myself in a rectory with a saintly old priest. He was over eighty, nearly blind, but widely sought out and respected, especially as a confessor. One night, alone with him, I asked him this question: 'If you had your priesthood to live over again, would you do anything differently?'...")
  • Living a Well-Storied Life

    by Leonard Sweet
    (Sermon Starter)("What do we do at family reunions and holiday celebrations? We trot out the same old stories, initiating each new generation in the stories of the ancestors. In their telling and re-telling, we make them living history, not just dead facts. Stories are how we learn who we are, where we've come from, and where we are going. A mature human being lives a well-storied life...")
  • Out of the Shadows

    by John van de Laar
    ("Every community has them. We don't like to speak about them. We turn our eyes away when they pass so that we don't have to look at them. We wish they would go somewhere else. They devalue our properties and make us fear for the safety of our children. They don't conform to our accepted patterns of behaviour and, though we would really prefer not to, they force us to face the brokenness of our systems...")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2008 to 2010

  • I Confess, My Heart Was Hard

    by Amy Butler
    On September 4, 1957, Elizabeth Eckford got ready for her first day of school. She put on the new pleated skirt she'd sewed, along with her white bobby socks and new white buck loafers, gathered her books and boarded the 7:30 a.m. bus for the ride to Little Rock Central High School. There were eight other African American students scheduled to attend Little Rock Central High School that day, but Elizabeth was the first one to arrive. Fifteen years old and painfully shy under normal circumstances, Elizabeth was an unlikely representative of what came to be known as "the Little Rock Nine," the first group of African American students to integrate a major Southern high school. But Elizabeth Eckford became a symbol of the struggle for racial integration because she happened to be the first to arrive, and because she arrived in the path of photographer Will Counts, who was taking pictures of that morning. As Elizabeth Eckford slowly made her way through the press and the protestors, Will Counts shot a picture that would be a haunting representation of the hard hearts that resisted integration in Little Rock that day. See, in that picture, right behind Elizabeth Eckford, there is another young woman, a white woman, whose face is contorted in hatred. Her whole body is protesting; she's leaning toward Elizabeth Eckford screaming something . . . and you can tell it's not something nice. That white girl's name was Hazel Bryan, and spectators reported: she was angry...
  • The Woman at the Well

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("the higher we went, the more women and girls we passed carrying loads of firewood on their backs down the mountain. Bent over at the waist, often barefooted, these women carried seventy-five pound bundles of eucalyptus saplings, seven feet wide, back down to the city center about ten miles away, all for a few pennies....")
  • In His Hands Are the Depths

    by Daniel Deffinbaugh
    ("Recently I discovered the work of an artist whose depictions of events from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament speak to me in a new and challenging way. Dr. He Qi is the first person from mainland China to have received his Ph. D. in religious art after the Cultural Revolution...")
  • Lent 3A (2008)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a new family moved into an elegant suburban parish, one which was very progressive. It had all kinds of committees, and ministries, and there were meetings all the time...")
  • No God But God

    by Robert Kruschwitz
    (includes extensive discussion of Christian and Muslim views of God)
  • A Place for Everything

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("A place for everything and everything in its place! I would love to say that that was the motto I live by. Unfortunately, not being a naturally tidy person, the truth is more often, 'a place for everything and everything somewhere else'....")
  • Lent 3A (2008)

    by Robert Morrison
    ("Paula Ripple once wrote 'Jesus had a remarkable way of being a friend to every person he met. We sense in him the ability to welcome the stranger, to find the hidden gift in those others called sinners...." and other illustrations)
  • The Water

    True Story from Mountainwings
    ("I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year-old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn't walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. He was obviously walking with a great effort, trying to be as still as possible....")
  • The Woman at the Well

    by Anna Murdock
    ("A young single mother began to come to our Sunday school class. I remember that she found it difficult to lift her head at times. 'Linda' never chimed into conversations or discussions....")
  • Well Woman

    by Larry Patten
    ("Years ago there were television commercials hyping Memorex, a brand of recording tape. An ad showed a so-called 'live' event where a singer shattered a glass with her voice...")
  • Lion King: Quenched

    by Beth Quick
    ("Hakuna Matata is arguably one of the most popular songs from the Lion King. The lyrics, like the philosophy of the song, are pretty simple: Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase! It means no worries for the rest of your days. It's our problem-free philosophy. Hakuna matata is a Swahili phrase that is literally translated as There are no worries here'...")
  • A Chance to Drink

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("There was a cartoon I saw sometime back which showed a little boy kneeling by his bed saying his bedtime prayers....")
  • Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("To this day, that nameless Samaritan woman, the first unexpected evangelist, is revered in many cultures. In southern Mexico, La Samaritana is remembered on the fourth Friday in Lent...")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • Of Wintry Mornings and Water Wells

    by J. Neil Alexander
    ("It was early on a weekday morning and even though spring was just around the corner, the night had been cold and the morning air still had a bite to it. As I was walking to the church, I encountered a homeless man who had slept the night on an old piece of cardboard...")
  • Down at the Well

    by Steve Allen
    (Jesus was "down" at the well, "down" from the heat of the day, "down" in Samaria on his way to Jerusalem, and "down for a rest"...)
  • You Have No Bucket and the Well Is Deep

    by Bob Allred
    ("Augustine had lived a life of sin prior to his conversion as a young man. The story is told that soon after his conversion he was accosted by a woman of the street whom he had known intimately prior to his conversion...")
  • Wheat Harvest

    from Biblical Studies
    ("Paul Rader used to tell the story of a great wheat harvest in Australia that rotted in the fields during World War I. Because so many men had responded to the call of the colors, nobody was left to gather in the grain harvest...")
  • The One You Want

    by Phil Bloom
    ("When I think about Jesus satisfying man's thirst, my memory goes back to my days at the Lummi Indian Reservation. In our little congregation we had a choir which sang right from the heart. One of the songs was Take my Cup...")
  • The Scent of Water

    by Phil Bloom
    ("Some of you have probably read Lonesome Dove. It is basically a story about a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. At one point they have to cross a vast, arid plain;...")
  • Lent 3A (2005)

    by Sarah Dylan Breuer
    ("John de Beer once talked about how violence so often proceeds from a sense of shame, with perpetuators of violence lashing out at whatever or whoever they've projected their shame onto...")
  • Astonished

    by John Buchanan
    ("Jonathan Sacks is Great Britain's Chief Rabbi, and he has written an important book, The Dignity of Difference. Sacks writes, "I see a rising crescendo of ethnic tensions, civilizational clashes, and the use of religious justification for acts of terror, a clear and present danger to humanity...")
  • Light and Warmth

    by John Claypool
    ("Johann Wolfgang Goethe was the last of the so-called universal human beings. I mean by that, he was one of the last of our western civilization to have gained the mastery of every academic discipline...")
  • Familiar Isn't Always Best

    by Tom Cox
    ("In Lent, how will we burst dams so Living Water can quench the thirst of the world?...")
  • High Noon in Samaria

    by Tom Cox
    ("Two people went out of their way in the Gospel. The woman to a remote well at the hottest part of the day, and God who will always go out of His way to encounter us and offers us a life of renewal...")
  • Thirsting

    from the Daily Walk
    ["It is worth our attention that the two occurrences of the word 'drinketh' in our text are actually in two different forms. The construction used in Greek implies a continual, habitual drinking in the first case, but a one time action in the second. Likewise, while the woman referred to a 'well' (v. 12) (literally 'a hole in the ground'), Christ referred to a 'flowing well' or 'spring', using a different word..."]
  • Water Rights

    by Robert Elder
    ("Frederick Buechner's lovely little book Telling Secrets, includes the story of his daughter's struggle with anorexia as well as his own struggle with his desire to ensure her recovery from the disease...")
  • The Woman at the Well

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("Recently a Newspaper ran a little item which I would like to share with you. It was titled: 'In Times of Stress, Just Call on Rover'. It goes like this: 'When it comes to times of stress, the most reassuring companion isn't your sweetheart - it's your schnauzer. A study has found that people who were under stress showed the least amount of tension when accompanied by their dog...")
  • Living Water

    by Frank Fisher
    (Guided Meditation)("Today, you're going to enter the hush of your quiet place and meet Jesus in your imagination. Make yourself comfortable in your seat. Close your eyes and relax. You'll be breathing deeply, and relaxing your whole body...")
  • Big, Ugly, Grumpy, and Green

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("In the movie Shrek, we are introduced to a bright green ogre. He lives in the swamp. He likes to live by himself in the swamp because no one likes him...")
  • God Accepts Sinful, Shame-Filled, Separated People

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("A newspaper ran a little item entitled In Times of Stress, Just Call on Rover. It goes like this: 'When it comes to times of stress, the most reassuring companion you can have is your dog...")
  • Lent 3A (2005)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a new family moved into an elegant suburban parish, one which was very progressive. It had all kinds of committees, and ministries, and there were meetings all the time...")
  • Lent 3A (2002)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was this boy, a senior in college who had a total crush on a young woman who was a junior. She was totally gorgeous and very smart and also very nice...")
  • Lent 3A (1999)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was an inquisitive little girl by the name of Amy. At least that’s the name her parents gave her when she was christened...")
  • Lent 3A (1996)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was a man who was a prisoner of war. The camp in which he was held was a cruel, harsh place and the guards were brutal. Many men died...")
  • Lent 3A (2002)

    by Roger Haugen
    ("Some years ago, in another parish, I had a phone call from a woman whose son had died in Montreal. The parents were old and it was hard for them to accept the death of a son who was in his 30's. As I sat with them, it became clear that there was more to the story...")
  • The Places We Don't Want to Go

    by Peter Haynes
    Let me end with a brief poem by Andrzej Jawien. This was the pen name of a certain Polish priest who, in 1978, became Pope John Paul II. It joined us together, the well; the well led me into you. No one between us but light deep in the well, the pupil of the eye set in an orbit of stones. Within your eyes, I, drawn by the well, am enclosed.
  • Welling Up

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Some years ago, writer Eugene Peterson found an analogy for modern spiritual quests in, of all things, a Winnie the Pooh story. In one of the many tales from the Hundred-Acre Woods, Christopher Robin and company decide to set out one day in search of the North Pole...")
  • Living Water

    by Donald Hoffman
    ("In fact there are at least a dozen major, important sermons hiding in this chapter. I am actually tempted to spend the next several weeks preaching out of John chapter 4. Or maybe to preach a four-hour sermon...")
  • A Thirsty Woman

    by John Jewell
    In 1996, a young marine corporal named Joey Mora was standing on a platform of an aircraft carrier patrolling the Iranian Sea. Incredibly, he fell overboard. His absence was not known for 36 hours. A search and rescue mission began, but was given up after another 24 hours. No one could survive in the sea without even a lifejacket after 60 hours. His parents were notified that he was "missing and presumed dead." The rest of the story is one of those "truth is stranger than fiction" events. Script writers would pass it up as "not believable." Four Pakistani fishermen found Joey Mora about 72 hours after he had fallen from the aircraft carrier. He was treading water in his sleep, clinging to a makeshift floatation device made from his trousers -- a skill learned in most military survival training. He was delirious when they pulled him into their fishing boat. His tongue was dry and cracked and his throat parched. Just about two years later, as he spoke with Stone Philips of NBC Dateline, he recounted an unbelievable story of will to live and survival. Who would not give up? He said it was God who kept him struggling to survive. His discovery by the fishermen makes searching for a needle in a haystack a piece of cake. The most excruciating thing of all? Joey said that the one thought that took over his body and pounded in his brain was "Water!"...
  • Water for Thirsty Souls

    by Beth Johnston
    In the movie Pretty Woman, a Beverly Hills prostitute named Vivian meets up with Edward Lewis a multi-millionaire who was lost and wrecking the transmission of his lawyer's very expensive car as he drove around looking for his hotel...
  • True Confessions

    by Scott Black Johnston
    ("In his book Reframing, Don Capps claims that identifying the real issue in pastoral counseling is half the battle. A man walks into your study. He keeps talking about his garden, but behind the chatter about a bumper crop of tomatoes is a person with serious worries. Many times, most times perhaps, the real issue is hidden...")
  • Our Well in the Desert

    by Fred Kane
    ("George Burns died several years ago at the age of 100. I watched George Burns for much of my life and the one character he played that I will always remember is his portrayal of God in the O God movies...")
  • I Thirst

    by Kirk Alan Kubicek
    ("In a sermon from 1956, Gordon Cosby, a co-founder of that church, speaks of the importance of a personal encounter with Jesus such as the Samaritan woman at the well experiences: 'I have discovered…that commitment and discipline are the absolute essentials for any spiritual power...")
  • Drink the Living Water

    by Tommy Lane
    ("In 1888 a man was shocked to read the notice of his own death in the newspaper. It was an error. However he was even more shocked to read that the newspaper described him as someone who found new ways to kill people and became rich from doing so...")
  • A Place for Everything

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("A place for everything and everything in its place! That's my motto. Unfortunately, as my husband will tell you, I very rarely live up to it. ...")
  • The Shady Lady of Sychar

    by John Manzo
    ("I've been reading a book by a man named Brennan Manning entitled The Ragamuffin Gospel. I've also heard Manning speak and he says something incredible and profound. The one thing Christians tend to overlook more than anything else is grace. God's grace is overwhelming and relentless...")
  • The Gospel of Hope

    by Jim McCrea
    ("In the movie The Shawshank Redemption, there's a scene in which one prisoner, played by Tim Robbins, manages to lock himself into the room with the public address system and the phonograph..." and other illustrations)
  • Watershed: Recognizing the Voice of God

    by Jim McCrea
    ("I have told you before about the first time I entertained the idea of going to seminary. I contacted the University of Dubuque and spent most of a day on campus, talking with professors and students and sitting through an impossibly boring class...")
  • Spiritual Snobs

    by Scot McKnight
    ("In a penetrating essay on the 'put-down', Joseph Epstein says that judging others is 'malice formulated in tranquility' and the 'civilized person's equivalent of the perfectly aimed knockout punch'...")
  • Women and Water Privatization

    by Ana Elena Obando
    (article about inordinate role of women in responsibility for securing household water supplies and the impact of this role in their lives)
  • Spiritual Priorities

    by James Packer
    ("Whenever opportunity affords, evangelism is to be our first priority. It’s also, or ought to be, a joyful privilege. There’s nothing more worthwhile than seeking under God to be the human agent in saving men and women for all eternity. Evangelism is also a partnership...")
  • He Comes to Us

    by John Pavelko
    ("The Boston Globe once reported the tragic account of the drowning of an eight year old in a small pond. They boy was with three friends and together they were looking for golf balls..." and other illustrations)
  • When the Messiah Comes

    by Michael Phillips
    ("This poem by Charles Causley expresses how quickly we tend to forget, hearing without hearing, and acting without loving, all the while thinking we understand, while we are really captivated by our own desires, our own works, and our own agendas...")
  • Anything Can Happen at a Well

    by Barry Robinson
    ("In Nicholas Evans' popular novel The Horse Whisperer, Annie Graves travels across a continent with her daughter Grace and Grace's severely traumatized horse Pilgrim in a desperate attempt to convince a Montana rancher named Tom Booker to help them...")
  • Where Is Your Water Jar?

    by Leroy Seat
    ("Compassion, as you know, comes from Latin words that literally mean to suffer with. Thus, compassion is somewhat different from pity, which connotes an attitude of someone in a superior position expressed toward someone in an inferior position. The Japanese word equivalent to pity is disliked by most Japanese Christians because of this connotation...")
  • Women Leading the Way

    by Byron Shafer
    ("Professor Anna May Soule had taken Frances Perkins and the other students in her American History course to a nearby factory to survey there the working conditions - the abominable, but typical, working conditions...")
  • What the Camel Knows

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("You know that Noah brought the animals onto the Ark twos by two, right? Well it's a little known fact that of all the animals on the Ark, Noah actually brought three camels. First, there was the one whose back would be broken by the last straw...")
  • Satisfying a Thirst

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Some years ago a group of nine Mexicans who were on a long journey decided to take a short-cut over an old forsaken trail known as 'the Devil's Highway'. The trail cuts straight across a parched desert in northern Mexico..." and other illustrations)
  • Unconditional Positive Regard

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Recently my wife and I had the opportunity to be aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean. One of the things that impressed me was the fact that the crew of the ship were from 52 different countries...")
  • Back From the Brink

    by Carlos Wilton
    ("In his book Born Again, the convicted Watergate conspirator Charles Colson tells of something he observed in his fellow prisoners. Some of the strongest men, Colson noticed, give up under the ordeals of prison life ...")
  • The Road Less Traveled

    by David Zimmerman
    "Robert Frost wrote a poem entitled The Road Not Taken. It is brief – four stanzas, twenty lines – but in that space, he reminds us of an important truth. He writes of walking a road through a wood that suddenly branches out to become two..."
  • An Encounter with the Messiah

    by Tim Zingale
    ("When Lawrence of Arabia was in Paris after WWI with some of his Arab friends, he showed them the sights of the city, but do you know what impressed them the most? it was the faucet in the hotel bathtub...")

Other Resources from 2017 to 2019

Other Resources from 2014 to 2016

Other Resources from 2011 to 2013

Other Resources from 2005 to 2007

Other Resources from 2002 to 2004

Other Resources from the Archives

Children's Resources and Dramas

The Classics

Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable