Lectionary Reading Introduction

This site provides something different: many sites and books provide a brief summary of the reading - so that people read out or have in their pew sheet an outline of what they are about to hear. They are told beforehand what to expect. Does this not limit what they hear the Spirit address them? This site provides something different - often one cannot appreciate what is being read because there is no context provided. This site provides the context, the frame of the reading about to be heard. It could be used as an introduction, printed on a pew sheet (acknowledged, of course), or adapted in other ways. This is an experimental venture and I will see how useful it appears.


The Hebrew people have been liberated from slavery in Egypt. This text is the third of ten tests that God has for God's people in the desert. Meriba is derived from rib "to quarrel". Massa is derived from nissa "to test".

Romans 5:1-11

Paul's letter has focused on our human situation without a messiah, followed by salvation through faith in Jesus. Now the letter moves from justification and righteousness to God's love. In the cultural context, there was a constant giving of favours leading to indebtedness and the expectation that a favour be returned, and then that favour led to the expectation of a favour back,... and so on. This is the context in which Jesus does a favour we cannot repay.

John 4:5-42

A Samaritan ministry for Jesus does not fit in with the Synoptic picture (Matthew 10:5), but John is acknowledged as having a Samaritan ministry (Acts 8:1-8) and so scholars suggest this is a reading back into Jesus' life within the Johannine commune community which probably had Samaritans in it. Women come to the well morning or evening - this woman is ostracised from her community of women. She comes at noon. Women and men did not speak alone to each other (4:9, 27). She then goes to the village marketplace - the men's domain. In the dialogue, Jesus and the woman each speak seven times. There is a progression of insight: Judean (Jew), sir, prophet, messiah, saviour of the world.

These readings are new in the traditions of Lenten lectionaries.
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