Thursday after Sexagesima

1 Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing
praises | to our God;*
         for it is pleasant, and a song
         of praise is | fitting.

2 The LORD builds up Je- | rusalem;*
         he gathers the outcasts of | Israel.

3 He heals the broken- | hearted*
         and binds | up their wounds.

6 The LORD lifts up the | humble;*
         he casts the wicked | to the ground.

7 Sing to the LORD with thanks- | giving;*
         make melody to our God | on the lyre!

8 He covers the heavens with clouds; he
prepares rain | for the earth;*
         he makes grass grow | on the hills.

9 He gives to the | beasts their food,*
         and to the young ravens | that cry.

10 His delight is not in the strength | of
the horse,*
         nor his pleasure in the legs | of a man,

11 but the LORD takes pleasure
in those who | fear him,*
         in those who hope in his | steadfast love.

    —Psalm 147:1–3, 6–11

Additional Psalm: Psalm 147

Old Testament Reading: Job 7:1–21
Job Continues: My Life Has No Hope
1“Has not man a hard service on earth,
         and are not his days like the days of a hired hand?

2Like a slave who longs for the shadow,
         and like a hired hand who looks for his wages,

3so I am allotted months of emptiness,
         and nights of misery are apportioned to me.

4When I lie down I say, ‘When shall I arise?’
         But the night is long,
         and I am full of tossing till the dawn.

5My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt;
         my skin hardens, then breaks out afresh.

6My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle
         and come to their end without hope.

7“Remember that my life is a breath;
         my eye will never again see good.

8The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more;
         while your eyes are on me, I shall be gone.

9As the cloud fades and vanishes,
         so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up;

10he returns no more to his house,
         nor does his place know him anymore.

11“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
         I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
         I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

12Am I the sea, or a sea monster,
         that you set a guard over me?

13When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
         my couch will ease my complaint,’

14then you scare me with dreams
         and terrify me with visions,

15so that I would choose strangling
         and death rather than my bones.

16I loathe my life; I would not live forever.
         Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.

17What is man, that you make so much of him,
         and that you set your heart on him,

18visit him every morning
         and test him every moment?

19How long will you not look away from me,
         nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit?

20If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind?
         Why have you made me your mark?
         Why have I become a burden to you?

21Why do you not pardon my transgression
         and take away my iniquity?

For now I shall lie in the earth;
         you will seek me, but I shall not be.”

New Testament Reading: John 4:7–26
[Jesus and the Woman of Samaria]
7A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8(For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

But if we do want to boast, then let us boast that we receive from the fullness of Christ, that we are enlightened by Him, attain forgiveness of sin, and become children of God through Him. For this is the sum and substance of it all: Whoever wishes to be safe-guarded from the devil’s might and to escape sin and death must draw from this well, Christ; from Him flows all salvation and eternal bliss. This fountain is inexhaustible; it is full of grace and truth before God; it never fails no matter how much we draw from it. Even if we all dip from it without stopping, it cannot be emptied, but it remains a perennial fount of all grace and truth, an unfathomable well, an eternal fountain. The more we draw from it, the more it gives. Such water, as St. John remarks later, wells up to eternal life (John 4:14).

The sun is not dimmed and darkened by shining on so many people or by providing the entire world with its light and bright splendor. It retains its light intact. It loses nothing; it is immeasurable, perhaps able to illumine ten more worlds. I suppose that a hundred thousand candles can be ignited from one light, and still this light will not lose any of its brilliance. Likewise, a learned man can educate a thousand scholars without forfeiting any of his own learning. The more he shares with others, the more he has himself. Thus Christ, our Lord, to whom we must flee and of whom we must ask all, is an interminable well, the chief source of all grace, truth, righteousness, wisdom, and life, without limit, measure, or end. Even if the whole world were to draw from this fountain enough grace and truth to transform all people into angels, still it would not lose as much as a drop. This fountain constantly overflows with sheer grace. Whoever wishes to enjoy Christ’s grace—and no one is excluded—let him come and receive it from Him. You will never drain this fountain of living water; it will never run dry. You will all draw from it much more than enough, and yet it will remain a perennial well.

    —Martin Luther

Come, Thou Fount of ev’ry blessing,

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;

Streams of mercy, never ceasing,

Call for songs of loudest praise.

While the hope of endless glory

Fills my heart with joy and love,

Teach me ever to adore Thee;

May I still Thy goodness prove.

    —Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (LSB 686:1)

Prayer of the Day
Lord God, heavenly Father, You have called Your Church to worship Your Son in Spirit and truth. Through the Spirit of Jesus, keep us faithful to the one who is the way, the truth, and the life, so that we may be partakers of His divine life and inherit the kingdom promised for those who drink from the water of life; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. (1142)

Suggested Reading from
the Book of Concord
Smalcald Articles III III 1–9

By Rev. Michael Mayer

Lutheran Pastor of two small Lutheran Churches in rural SW Ontario.