Prayers at Mid-day for Wednesday, 5 August, 2020 (Proper 18, Trinity 8)


Feast of Oswald (died 642), one of the first Christian kings of England, patron of St. Aidan. 




O God, make speed to save us.


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.



The Lord is our refuge and our strength:  O come, let us worship.


Hebrew Scriptures

Judges 13.15-24  (The Birth of Samson)



Psalm 101


I will sing of loyalty and of justice;

   to you, O Lord, I will sing. 

I will study the way that is blameless.

   When shall I attain it? 

I will walk with integrity of heart

   within my house; 

I will not set before my eyes

   anything that is base. 

I hate the work of those who fall away;

   it shall not cling to me. 

Perverseness of heart shall be far from me;

   I will know nothing of evil. 


One who secretly slanders a neighbour

   I will destroy.

A haughty look and an arrogant heart

   I will not tolerate. 


I will look with favour on the faithful in the land,

   so that they may live with me;

whoever walks in the way that is blameless

   shall minister to me. 


No one who practises deceit

   shall remain in my house;

no one who utters lies

   shall continue in my presence. 


Morning by morning I will destroy

   all the wicked in the land,

cutting off all evildoers

   from the city of the Lord.





Acts 6.1-15 (Seven Chosen to Serve)




John 4.1-26

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, ‘Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John’— although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— he left Judea and started back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus 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.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’


Commentary (Father Michael)


Before I took a holiday break from the Daily Devotions, we were coming to the end of Matthew’s gospel.  Now that we are back, we find ourselves in the Fourth Evangelist, John, and the well-known story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well.   This gospel story feature prominently in the Revised Common Lectionary Sunday cycle, and a lot of homiletic breath and ink has been spent on it.   Today I will simply say a few things about the significance of the well as a site of meeting.


That Jesus should meet this woman at a well would have triggered memories of similar encounters at wells in the Hebrew scriptures, especially as John mentions that this particular well is known as Jacob’s well (Jn 4.6).   While there is no particular well named for Jacob in Genesis, there are two prominent encounters at wells in Genesis which both lead to marriage.   In Gen 24, Abraham’s servant meets Rebekah, the future wife of Isaac, at a well, while Jacob meets his future wife Rachel at a well (Gen 29).    Readers familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures might thus be primed to think of these stories, in which women are primarily presented as eligible brides.   However, while Jesus knows how many husbands the Samaritan woman has had in her life, he is interested in her as a person, despite the barriers of religion (Jew vs Samaritan) and gender that would have made such a conversation highly improper and unlikely.


While the conversation with the Samaritan woman is John’s way of highlighting Jesus’ identity as the Messiah, and of identifying him as the source of eternal life (water here, bread elsewhere), it also serves to show that he is the source of life for all people.   Earlier John told is (3.16) that Jesus came because God “so loved the world” (the Greek word is kosmos, meaning everything, the whole universe).   If the universe is worth sabin, then so is this one woman.   Dorothy Sayers famously wrote that Jesus was a teacher who treated women as persons, who “never flattered or coaxed or patronised; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”.  In this conversation at  well, we see a new way of being, as church, where women are valued not just as brides and mothers, but as full participants in Christ.



What assumptions about gender did you grow up with in life and in the church?   How might this passage from John challenge those assumptions? What other questions come to mind in today’s passages?




Let us pray in faith to God our Father, to his Son Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit, saying, “Lord, hear and have mercy.”


For the Church of the living God throughout the world, let us ask the riches of his grace.  Today we pray in the Anglican Communion Cycle of Prayer for the clergy and people of the Diocese of Ogbia (Nigeria) and their bishop, The Rt Revd James Oruwori, of the Diocese of Bor (South Sudan) and their bishop The Most Revd Ruben Akurdid Ngong, and the clergy and people of the Diocese of Umzimvubu (Southern Africa) and their bishop, The Rt Revd Sitembele Mzamane.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For all who proclaim he word of truth, especially all who struggle to communicate the gospel within the isolation and restrictions of the pandemic, 

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For all who have consecrated their lives to the kingdom of God, and for all struggling to follow the way of Christ, let us all the gifts of the Spirit.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For Elizabeth our Queen, for Justin our Prime Minister, and for all who govern the nations, that they may strive for justice and peace, let us ask the strength of God.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For scholars and research workers, particularly for those working on treatments and a vaccine for Covid 19, and for all whose work seeks to benefit humanity, let us ask the light of the Lord.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


We pray to be forgiven our sins and set free from all hardship, distress, want, war, and injustice.

Lord, hear and have mercy.


For all who have passed from this life in faith and obedience,  and for all who have perished from Covid 19 and from diseases that went untreated because hospitals were overwhelmed, let us ask the peace of Christ.

Lord, hear and have mercy.



The Lord’s Prayer


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.





Lord God, whose servant Oswald the King sent for preachers to Bring the Good News of salvation to the people of his country, and stood beside the preacher Aidan and interpreted his words into the Anglo-Saxon language: Place in our hearts a concern for those who have not heard the message of your love; and where we have not the ability to reach them ourselves, grant us the discernment and the charity to uphold those who do have it, that your way may be known upon earth, your saving health among all nations, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.


Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry with the bread of his life and the word of his kingdom.  Renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.