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               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service 12.3.23


Good morning to you all as we celebrate our service of the 3rd Sunday of Lent.  As I, Ken and Mum are away on holiday, Rev David Wills is officiating at St Clement, I’m sending this Service of the Word out early for those who are unable to attend.

May Christ’s love sustain you always.

Much love to you all,

Rev Di and family xx


Let us pray;

Almighty God, as we share in this season of Lent, by prayer and discipline may we enter into the mystery of Christ’s sufferings, and by following in his Way come to share in his glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 



Hymn; Come Down O Love Divine’


Our prayers of Penitence

We hear the commandments which God has given to his people, and examine our hearts.

I am the Lord your God: you shall have no other gods but me…

You shall not make for yourself any idol…

You shall not dishonour the name of the Lord your God…

Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy…

Honour your father and mother…

You shall not commit murder…

You shall not commit adultery…

You shall not steal…

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour…

You shall not covet anything which belongs to your neighbour…

Lord have mercy upon us and write all these your laws in our hearts



In a moment of quiet reflection,

We think of the times we have failed to keep God’s commandments…

and say together;

May almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save sinners, bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever.



Let us pray our Collect for today

Eternal God, give us insight to discern your will for us, to give up what harms us, and to seek the perfection we are promised in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Old Testament Reading: Exodus 17.1-7

New Testament Reading: Romans 5.1-11


Hymn; Through all the Changing Scenes of Life’


Gospel: John 4.5-42

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)


The Gospel According to


The Word Became Flesh

Jesus 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.’

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him.

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 

For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Saviour of the world.’


(This is the Gospel of the Lord.  Response: ‘Praise to you, O, Christ’)



It must be said that this story of Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman at the well is one full of surprises.

The first being that the conversation even happens at all, because the barriers to it are huge. Jesus is a Jew and the woman is a Samaritan, and in those times there was a wall of separation between them, no less than what separates the Israeli from the Palestinian today.

The Jews and Samaritans are related peoples, true, both are Hebrews. The Samaritans are from the old northern kingdom of Israel, while the Jews are from the old southern kingdom of Judah.

To cut a long story short, thank goodness for that, you say, the Samaritans inter-married with non-Jewish people, and lost much of their ethnic identity, while the Jews steadfastly maintained theirs.

And each group ended up with their own temple, the Samaritans on Mount Gerizim, the Jews on Mount Zion. And so it’s strange that Jesus decided to travel through Samaritan territory. That he strikes up a conversation with a Samaritan is even stranger.

And there’s something else that makes this conversation beside the well a surprise. In those days men and women didn’t talk to one another in public, not even husband and wife, as it wasn’t considered proper.

Especially so when the man, like Jesus, was a rabbi, someone who was meant to be an example of good behaviour. So no wonder that when the disciples return, they’re astonished to see Jesus speaking with a woman.

But there’s more still more to be said about this surprising encounter. Not only is the nameless one a Samaritan, and a woman, but she’s also someone rejected by her own people.

She comes to the well to draw water at noon, and she comes alone, morning and evening were when the women undertook the hard work of drawing water from the well, and carrying it home. They did it in company with one another, and though it was hard work it did give them chance to chat, and have some social contact.

But this woman goes to the well at a time when she will be alone. Perhaps because she sees herself as a misfit and avoids others in order not to be hurt yet again by their words, their attitudes, or their hard looks. It’s a surprise, then, that this conversation even happens. But the conversation itself contains even more surprises. 

It’s a surprise that Jesus promises living water.

Living water is water that flows, that runs and sparkles, and such water is a welcome change from water in wells that might even be stagnant.

At first the woman presumes that Jesus is talking about some nearby hidden stream he knows, that has far better water than this well.

She’d love the equivalent of a tap in her kitchen, so she wouldn’t have to carry buckets any more, and who can blame her?

But what Jesus promises is a stream of life in her heart, so that she can truly live. She’s confused about what he offers, and yet she understands it’s something she desperately needs.

It’s a surprise that Jesus knows the details of her life. Those details remain unclear to us, but it’s apparent that she’s had a painful and unhappy time.

She’s had five husbands, poor soul!  Did the marriages end through death, or divorce, or desertion? And why is her current husband not truly her husband?

We don’t have answers to these questions, yet we recognize that this woman feels alone and exiled from her neighbours.

The woman is surprised that Jesus knows the truth about her. She’s even more surprised that, knowing the truth, he accepts her. For her, this is an encounter with the holy. The man must be a prophet.

Then we come to another surprise. The woman asks Jesus to resolve the long-standing question of who is right: Jews or Samaritans? Which is the correct temple: Gerizim or Jerusalem?

And Jesus raises the issue to a new level. True worship will no longer be dependent on location, but will be a matter of spirit and truth.

The conversation ends with yet one more surprise.

The woman confesses her faith in the messiah who is to come, and Jesus says that he is that messiah.

Thus Jesus reveals his identity not to his disciples, or his own people, or religious leaders, but to this person who is marginal three times over: she’s a Samaritan, a woman, and an exile among her own kind.

We don’t even know her name, yet Jesus entrusts her with his deepest secret, the truth of who he is.

The conversation ends because the disciples come back from their trip to buy food, but the surprises don’t end. The woman leaves her water jar there at the well. It’s valuable to her, yet it’s heavy, and she wants to be unencumbered as she runs back into the city as fast as she can.

There in Sychar she tells people to come and see Jesus. She testified, “He told me everything I have ever done!”

Such a large crowd followed her back to the well that Jesus compares it to fields ready to be harvested. These people have accepted the woman’s testimony, and they are coming to see him for themselves.

It’s a surprise that someone like this woman bears witness. After all, she’s a reject among her people, a woman with no name, no social standing. Her experience with Jesus is very brief, it’s a surprise that people heed her. Yet they do, for there’s something compelling and authentic about her witness.

Here then, we have yet another surprise in a surprising story. This unlikely woman becomes a witness to Jesus, and an effective one.

True, she may be a woman who’s had plenty of experience with the rough edges of life. True, her understanding of Jesus is far from complete. Yet she bears witness based on her personal experience and speaks of what she knows.  Her focus is on Jesus, not on herself.

And not only does she point her own people to Jesus, but she shows us how we can witness to him.

If Jesus has spoken to us, has accepted us for who we are, and has led us to see ourselves differently, then we can bear witness to others as she did. We don’t need to have our life together in every way, we don’t need to know all there is to know. What we can do is tell others of our experience, and leave the rest to God.

Whether becoming the centre of attention is what we want, or what we fear, isn’t the issue or the purpose, because we can enable people to look, not at us, but at Jesus who stands alongside us. Then soon enough they’ll forget about our witness, and say the same as those people from Sychar; “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Saviour of the world.”

God surprises us in many ways, but none is more surprising than our opportunity to witness to Christ based on our own experience of life. After all, who would have thought that one day you’d be reading the witness of a lowly London bus driver in the name of our God of surprises: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.



Hymn; Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken’ 


Affirmation of our faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist. 


We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again. 


We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world. 


This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith.

We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.



Our Intercessions this week are written by Daphne Hawkins


In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.  Most merciful Father, as we gather here in our beloved church united with those who cannot be with us but join us in spirit, we pray for your presence among us on this the third Sunday of Lent, the third Sunday of our Easter journey; a journey so poignant at this time with so much pain and suffering in our world. Lord, be with us and guide us every day.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer


We pray for your Church everywhere, Archbishop Justin, Bishops Philip, and Hugh, and all who are leading the Church forward at this time, a time of challenge and change. Give them strength and vision that our Church will grow in faith and numbers, so that our Christian beliefs will bring new hope and light in the days ahead.                                                                                                                            

We pray for Reverend Diane, for Father David and Liz that they will continue to lead us here at St Clement on our earthly journey with the care and dedication they so freely bring to our church and our community.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer


Dear Lord, it is with heavy hearts we pray for our damaged world – so many people in conflict and war, disasters both natural and often man-made, our world full of greed, envy selfishness and the evil desire to inflict pain and harm to their innocent and vulnerable fellowmen.                                                                              Dear Lord, our prayer this Lent is that world leaders and governments will lead the way to justice – that those intent to bring evil and pain to others may hear the Easter message and strive to obtain peace, compassion, and love back into our lives and our wonderful world.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer


Merciful Father, we bring to you all who suffer the problems of everyday life who cannot see the way forward, no light or hope for their future.                                     We pray for those around us, Terry and Dot, Margaret, Paul and Jan, Stephen, Lyn, Maureen, Brian, Annie and Terry and those who have no one even to say a prayer for them. Those lonely or in pain.                                              

Dear Lord, please comfort and heal those in need and fear; give them courage and hope and the peace that comes from your hands that heal, and knowing you are always there.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer


We pray for the souls of those who have recently come to the end of life’s earthly journey. May they be with you at rest, in peace.

We recall those whose anniversary falls at this time; those who we no longer see but love and remember always. May they be with you in your eternal kingdom.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer


Lord, amidst our daily fears and worries we cannot fail to be gladdened by the gifts that surround us every day. The promise of Spring, the new birth is there for everyone. As the days lengthen, the first Spring flowers begin to blossom, there is bird song, and the wild life around us is beginning to awake. The beauty of another Spring is unveiling in front of our eyes. Life may seem hard and unpredictable, but you Lord are bringing these freely given joys into our lives.                                          

Let us all truly be grateful for these great gifts which make our lives so truly blessed.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer


Lord Jesus, we are often not the Easter people that we should be, living in sure and certain knowledge of your great mercy and love.                                                                   We are distracted by things going on in the world around us. We fail to hear your voice and hide when faith is challenged; and we wander from your path. Forgive us, we pray; restore the love that we had, faith that can endure.  May we fix our eyes on you, Lord, and with you at our right hand we have the strength to go on.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer


Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Andrew, St Clement and the Blessed Virgin Mary we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen


Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray with confidence as Jesus taught us;

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.


Hymn; O Lord my God!’ (How great thou art)


The Peace

‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name’ says the Lord,

 ‘I am there among them’

May the peace of God be always with us.  Amen.



May Christ give us grace to grow in holiness, to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him; and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, those whom we love, and remain with us always. Amen.






































Page last updated: 9th March 2023 8:07 AM