A Lenten Journey

Each week we have prepared a journey for you that aligns with the Lenten Scripture Series from Pastor Brad.
Let’s navigate the bridges of scripture together.

On Sunday afternoons you will receive an email with Scripture, Reflection Questions, and Prayer Prompts to carry you deeper into understanding Jesus as the Bridge. We invite you to customize this journey to what fits your life: You can participate on your own, with your family, or in a group. Feel free to follow our daily plan for a little reflection each day or submerge all at once for a deep dive.

Week Two | Where is the Bridge

Welcome to Week 2 Scriptures and Reflections:
Customize your journey, a little each day or all at once.
We invite everyone to pray with us on Thursdays.

Old Testament

Exodus 17: 1-7  |  The story of the Water from the Rock | Audio

 

The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” 

 Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?” 

 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” 

 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 

 The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” 

 _________

REFLECTION 

The Israelites wandered and grumbled and feared that the desert would be the end of them. Water was what they thought they needed most. Moses, too, feared for his life, that the people were coming to stone him.  

The Lord had concrete instructions for Moses that perfectly met the needs of the moment. Moses was to stand before the people, with his miracle-producing staff, in the company of the elders of Israel. Yahweh himself promised to stand there before Israel by the rock.  

The Lord God, Moses, the elders, the people at the desert rock. The Lord provided water to quench thirst. And, the Lord demonstrated yet again that He could be trusted. 

The people, however, continued to find it difficult to believe that the God who rescued them from Egypt would continue to care and provide. Even as the Lord gave fresh and flowing water from the rock, they doubted.  “Is the Lord among us or not?” Leaving Egypt is never easy. 

  •  When have frightening circumstances, doubt or fear led you to ask the same question: “Is the Lord among us or not?”  
  •  Remember and tally up the ways that it later became clear that the answer was “Yes, I AM is with you.”
New Testament

John 4: 1-42  |  The story of Jesus Talking with a Samaritan Woman | Audio

 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. 

 Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 

 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 

 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 

 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”   

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 

 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 

 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 

 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 

 “I have no husband,” she replied. 

 Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 

 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 

 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 

 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 

 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” 

The Disciples Rejoin Jesus 

 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 

 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 

 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 

 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” 

 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” 

 Many Samaritans Believe 

 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. 

 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” 

_________ 

REFLECTION 

The story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well is packed with notable details that invite us into wonder and reflection about the deep truths Jesus is teaching. Jesus breaks established religious norms and speaks to a Samaritan . . . a woman . . . alone. Then Jesus explains to her what true worship looks like and Jesus reveals his identity as Messiah for the first time in his ministry. Why does he reveal these things in this place with this woman? 

The questions asked among the participants of the story are also worthy of our curious reflection. Consider what may be revealed in these questions. 

  1. “Will you give me a drink?”  (Jesus came to be the Bridge to God for Jew, for Samaritan, and for Gentile.) 
  2. “How can you ask me for a drink?”  (The Samaritan woman knew “her place”— that a Samaritan was excluded from interaction with Jews. And this particular Samaritan woman was even excluded from the community of her own people.) 
  3. “Where can you get this living water?” (“Living water” versus “well water”—the woman begins to consider things beyond what she sees.) 
  4. “Are you greater than Jacob?” (Glad you asked!  Yes, the Messiah is greater than Jacob and all else you hold in esteem!) 
  5. “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking to her?” And, “Could someone have brought him food?”  (The disciples were still thinking in ways too small for the Christ and His Kingdom Come.) 
  6. “Could this be the Messiah?”  (The Samaritan woman went to the community who had ostracized her and invited them into this unfolding story. She exhibited a willingness to believe. She began to put the pieces together.  “Could it be?”) 

 

  • Consider the questions in this story. Which one are you most asking today? 
  • When has asking or being asked good questions led you to greater understanding and deeper faith in Jesus, the Bridge?  
  • When have you had to surrender old assumptions and dig deeper into trusting the Bridge? How is He leading you from the old paths to renewed life in Christ?  
Thursday Prayer Prompts

AUDIO
Prepare your heart for prayer – light your Lenten candle, have your Bible open to this week’s passages and your journal handy. Take a moment of silence….


Read again Exodus 17: 1-7 and John 4: 1-42 

  • Give thanks in prayer for the ways Jesus is your Bridge in uncertain circumstances and times of doubt or fear. Consider ways that God engages you through questions that open understanding and inspire faith and trust. 
  • Bring the needs of a fearful world to the Bridge in prayer. 
  • Share your Reflections & Prayers on the Lenten Journey Virtual Journal

Week 3 | Waiting on the Bridge

Welcome to Week 3 Scriptures and Reflections:
Customize your journey, a little each day or all at once.
We invite everyone to pray with us on Thursdays.

Old Testament

Job 14:1-14 |  The story of Job’s Lament and Hope | Audio

 “Mortals, born of woman, 

are of few days and full of trouble. 

They spring up like flowers and wither away; 

like fleeting shadows, they do not endure. 

Do you fix your eye on them? 

Will you bring them before you for judgment? 

Who can bring what is pure from the impure? 

No one! 

A person’s days are determined; 

you have decreed the number of his months 

and have set limits he cannot exceed. 

So look away from him and let him alone, 

till he has put in his time like a hired laborer. 

 “At least there is hope for a tree: 

If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. 

Its roots may grow old in the ground 

and its stump die in the soil, 

yet at the scent of water it will bud 

and put forth shoots like a plant. 

But a man dies and is laid low; 

he breathes his last and is no more. 

As the water of a lake dries up 

or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, 

so he lies down and does not rise; 

till the heavens are no more, people will not awake or be roused from their sleep. 

“If only you would hide me in the grave 

and conceal me till your anger has passed! 

If only you would set me a timand then remember me! 

If someone dies, will they live again? 

All the days of my hard service 

I will wait for my renewal to come. 

 _________

REFLECTION 

Job has come face-to-face with devastating loss—his family, his health, his very life as he knew it are all gone and changed (Read Job 1-2). As chapter 14 opens, Job is sitting amidst his three friends. Job is responding to their counsel, but mid-way through his response, Job turns from his friends and directs his words to his God. He is pouring out his heart, confusion, pain. He is grieving deeply. And Job is understandably asking big questions: Does God see? Is there judgment awaiting? And, “If someone dies, will they live again?”  

 Job is also pondering truths he knows and that, in these dark days of loss, have become excruciatingly real: Life is short like the flowers of the field, full of trouble, and passes by like a fleeting shadow. Job considers life and death . . . and hope. (Read 1Pet 1:24; Is 40:6-8, Ps 103:15-19). 

 A few verses earlier Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15).  Simultaneously in the midst of grieving his great losses, Job is waiting for the Bridge of Light 

 

  • What losses are you grieving? Like Job, have you allowed yourself to be raw and honest with God?  
  • How does remembering who God is bring you hope? How is the Bridge that brings renewal into darkness comforting and compassion-ing you? 
New Testament

John 8:12-30  |  The Story of  the Dispute Over Jesus’ Testimony | Audio

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

 Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.” 

 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” 

 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” 

 “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come. 

Dispute Over Who Jesus Is 

 Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.” 

 This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?” 

 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” 

 “Who are you?” they asked. 

 “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” 

 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many believed in him. 

_________ 

REFLECTION 

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone when it became clear that the two of you were not talking about the same thing? You were completely missing each other! In John 8, Jesus and the Pharisees are missing each other in a big way.  

 The Father is named ten times in these few verses. The Pharisees spend their lives studying the Law that reveals God. But Jesus tells them that the Father stands in their presence in Jesus. The Pharisees are looking for the Father. Jesus is revealing the Father. Although they share a common goal—the Father who renews all things—they fail to find unity. “They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father” (verse 27).  

 The Light of the world stands flesh-and-blood among them but they don’t “see” him or his Father who stands with him. The Son of Man is the Bridge to the Father who renews all things! Jesus invites the people to come out of darkness and into the light of life. And, “Even as he spoke, many believed in him.” 

  •  “I [Jesus] am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (verse 12).  Instead of seeing Jesus, the Pharisees argued about proof and law and missed the Light of the life. Have you known a time when arguing prevailed over understanding? What was lost? What was gained? 
  • At all times, including in times of lament, the Light of life shines in our darkness. In shadowy seasons, when have you known the Bridge-who-brings-light to be with you? Remember and give thanks. 
Thursday Prayer Prompts

AUDIO
Prepare your heart for prayer – light your Lenten candle, have your Bible open to this week’s passages and your journal handy. Take a moment of silence….


Read again Job 14:1-14 and John 8:12-30

  • Give thanks in prayer for the ways Jesus is your Bridge in times loss and grief. 
  • In this year of pandemic and chaos, the world has experienced overwhelming losses and endless disagreement. In prayer, bring the needs of a grieving and fractured world to the Bridge who brings renewal. 
  • Share your Reflections & Prayers on the Lenten Journey Virtual Journal

Our Virtual Journal is Back!

This  year we have been collecting memories that will allow us not just to connect and encourage one another, but for us to remember in years to come all that God did in a really tough season. We invite you to share your Lenten  journaling, doodling, and memories with us – let us know how God is working in your life. Send us your Reflections and Prayers to share.

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