Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to many of the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have internet may find the songs on YouTube.

Parts of this service are taken from SHE FLIES ON: A Liturgy Inspired by Lydia Gruchy, Celebrating Women in Ministry (Lydia Gruchy was the first woman to be ordained within The United Church of Canada. In her honour, this service is inspired by Psalm 122, the text that Lydia Gruchy used for her master of divinity thesis); Worship Service for PIE Day, by Rev. Murray Pruden


‘Star Trek’ is about acceptance, and the strength of the Starship Enterprise is that it embraces diversity in all its forms.

~George Takei


The woman at the well is a familiar text for many people. This image of Jesus standing at a well talking with a Samaritan woman is emblazoned in our visual and theological imaginations, but as with all Bible stories that we think we know, we might do well to take another look! Perhaps relegating this text to the simple moralism “be nice to people who are different” causes us to miss how deeply radical and difficult the message really is. We may assume this gospel simply urges us to stand with the marginalized, especially women. Yet while standing with marginalized women is a commendable action it can lead us, after doing so, to congratulate ourselves for being just like Jesus. A more critical and searching look at this text calls us to the reality that Jesus doesn’t just stand with the other, Jesus stands with your other; your church’s other. Your church’s “Samaritans” may be LGBTQIA2S+ people, evangelicals, urban people, rural people, conservatives, liberals, the poor, the rich, the dying, or single parents. Your church’s Samaritans could very well be the key to this text. Because, like it or not, when we draw lines between ourselves and other people, Jesus is always on the other side of that line. So communities and individuals who thirst for the living water would do well to look to who our own Samaritans might be. And when we find them we should perhaps not be surprised to also find Jesus; a Jesus we thought was all our own but who, in reality, is the living water who comes to us in the strange and the stranger.


We acknowledge we gather and worship on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.

Holy Spirit, fill us with the power and the courage to trust in you and to trust in others. Help us to trust in the deep wisdom and traditional knowledges that you have gifted to our Indigenous neighbours. Help us to accept the gift of learning from our neighbours that we may broaden and deepen our understanding of how to live together, to share resources, to put our complementary skills to work together, and most of all to build on our common desire to live in wholeness together as all of your peoples. We thank you for the blessing you have given us to know you better by getting to know our neighbours better in all of their diverse God-given beauty.  Guide us, we pray.  Amen.

CALL TO WORSHIP  (based on Psalm 122)

Come to the house of God, and feel God’s welcome here.  With longing, we go to God’s own house and enter with a song.

Come to the house of God, and celebrate the women who helped build these walls.  With joy, we go to God’s own house and enter with a song.

Come to the house of God, and cry with the women who seek justice and compassion for all.  With tears, we go to God’s own house and enter with a song.

Come to the house of God, and with thanksgiving remember the women who have led us here.  With gratitude, we go to God’s own house and enter with a song.

Come to the house of God, and worship our mother, redeemer, and sustainer.

With humility, we come to God’s own house and enter with a song of praise.

CHILDREN’S SONG:  VU 353   ‘Tis A Gift To Be Simple


To you, our Creator, who crafts the heavens, the earth, and everything in them. You, who have been with us always hovering at the moment of our birth and lingering during our rebirth. Let us give thanks and praise. To you our redeemer, who reconciles and provides a vision for a world of love beyond our imagining. You, who have called us to courageous and prophetic action. Let us give thanks and praise. To you our sustainer, who supplies nourishment and sustenance on the journey. You, who softly whispers words of encouragement, guidance, and challenge, empowering us to fly on. Let us give thanks and praise.  Amen.


We are not alone; we live in God’s world.

We believe in God:  who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:  to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.  We are not alone.  Thanks be to God.


Jesus meets a woman at a well and tells her to give him a drink.  He did not say “please”.  In that culture, at that time, the woman wasn’t expecting Jesus to say “please”.  She was a woman from Samaria.  Samaritans and Jews did not like each other very much.  However, she gives Jesus a drink of water.  Then, they have an amazing conversation that, in the end, has the woman leaving her water jug behind and running back to her village to tell everyone about Jesus!  Then, the people of the village come running back to see Jesus!  Very cool!

When the woman went to the well, she wasn’t expecting to end up being a preacher!  Jesus was tired from his journey of being a travelling teacher.  In the woman, Jesus found someone who wanted to hear about the love of God, and was so excited she willingly ran back to tell others about what she had learned about herself and God.  Jesus and the woman helped each other.  Something as simple as giving Jesus a drink of water led to a conversation that changed her life.  The woman’s sharing of her experience with her village changed their lives!

Sometimes, when we show kindness to someone, it can lead to amazing conversations, life-changing conversations.  We never know when Jesus will need our help.  Always listening for Jesus’ voice and keeping our eyes open for anyone who might need to hear that God loves them is the best way to be Jesus’ helper.  Who knows, maybe the experience will change us!

MINUTE FOR MISSION:  Religion in the Service of Humanity

The entanglement of religion and politics in the Middle East often divides communities and leads to conflict, particularly among young people. “We all agreed that it is important to focus on universal values and ethics, reject extremism, and make the necessary efforts to develop practical formulas for fruitful cooperation,” says Rima Bayan Sleem, a 33-year-old judicial assistant from Chouf, Lebanon.

      “We all agreed that it is important to focus on universal values and ethics, reject extremism, and make the necessary efforts to develop practical formulas for fruitful cooperation.”

Thanks to your Mission & Service gifts, Rima and 36 other young adults gathered in Beirut, Lebanon, for the World Student Christian Federation-Middle East Region (WSCF-ME) 2021. They participated in an Interfaith Dialogue program that develops leaders skilled in preventing violence and fostering peace between communities.

WSCF-ME’s role is to be a mediator of peace and understanding amid all the overwhelming regional issues that include sectarian strife. “The Interfaith Dialogue program’s importance lies in the fact that it brings together youth from different religious backgrounds…to engage in a constructive peace-facilitating dialogue,” says Mira Neaimeh, Regional Executive for WSCF-ME. “I personally believe that change is done in small steps, starting from our regional gatherings that sow seeds of peace to be reaped in the future.”

     “The Interfaith Dialogue program’s importance lies in the fact that it brings together youth from different religious backgrounds…to engage in a constructive peace-facilitating dialogue.”

Your Mission & Service gifts help leaders in the Middle East and across the world collaborate and promote peaceful dialogue.

     The United Church of Canada is strongly committed to working ecumenically with Christians of diverse traditions and with people of other faiths for the common good, particularly in building peace and addressing shared concerns, such as climate change.


Holy source of light, darkness is a wonder to be explored, full of Holy Mystery. In the dark, we can find comfort and rest. In the night, we are reminded of how a candlelight is a small and mighty flicker of resilience and resistance. We gather today to worship you, the One who surprises us with wonder, who challenges our comfort, and who supports our resilience. We follow you, Lord Christ, the One who says “I am the light”— always.  Amen.


First Reading: Exodus 17:1-7

Because the thirsty Israelites quarreled with Moses and put God to the test, Moses cried out in desperation to God. God commanded Moses to strike the rock to provide water for the people. The doubt-filled question—“Is the Lord among us or not?”—received a very positive answer.

1From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” 4So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Psalm 95

R:  Let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation. (Ps. 95:1)

1Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before God’s presence with thanksgiving and raise a loud shout to the Lord with

3For you, Lord, are a great God, and a great ruler above all gods.
4In your hand are the caverns of the earth; the heights of the hills are also yours.
5The sea is yours, for you made it, and your hands have molded the dry land.
6Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our maker. R
7For the Lord is our God, and we are the people of God’s pasture and the sheep of God’s hand.
Oh, that today you would hear God’s voice!
8“Harden not your hearts, as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert.
9There your ancestors tested me, they put me to the test, though they had seen my works.
10Forty years I loathed that generation, saying,
‘The heart of this people goes astray; they do not know my ways.’
11Indeed I swore in my anger, ‘They shall never come to my rest.’ ” R

Second Reading: Romans 5:1-11

Though we often hear that God helps those who help themselves, here Paul tells us that through Jesus’ death God helps utterly helpless sinners. Since we who had been enemies are reconciled to God in the cross, we now live in hope for our final salvation.

1Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. 9Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Gospel: John 4:5-42

Jesus defies convention to engage a Samaritan woman in conversation. Her testimony, in turn, leads many others to faith.

5 came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

7A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8(His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9The 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.) 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 no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but 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.” 15The 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.”

16Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 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 have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 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 seeks such as these 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” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”

27Just 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?” 28Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29“Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” 30They left the city and were on their way to him.
31Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” 34Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35Do 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. 36The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

39Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41And many more believed because of his word. 42They 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 Savior of the world.”

HYMN:  MV 117  By The Well A Thirsty Woman


An amazing element–water.  It truly is a source of life.  Our bodies are mostly composed of water.  Without water all life on this planet would die.  It is, next to oxygen, the most important substance of our existence.

The Hebrew people knew the value of water.  Living in an almost desert climate, both social life and lifestyles often centered around the city well.  For the people of God, wells were holy places.  God often appeared to people at places where wells existed or else the well was built in honor of God after the interaction took place.  Yahweh and water were both necessary for life.  It was fitting that God would communicate with people at wells.

“Give me a drink of water.”

“You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan.  You know that Jews will not touch a cup or bowl that a Samaritan has used, so why do you ask me for a drink?” 

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink’, you would have asked that person, who would then have given you living water.”

Such is the powerful opening to Jesus’ description of himself as the living water and one of the most intriguing conversations in the Bible, in my humble opinion.  Notice what is happening here.  Jesus takes the initiative and begins the conversation.  The instant he does this, Jesus changes the status, and the life, of the Samaritan woman.

According to Jewish law, it was frowned upon for men to speak with women in public places.  By asking the woman for a drink, and engaging her in a highly personal dialogue, Jesus raises the woman to the status of peer, an equal.  For Jesus to inform the woman that he is aware of her marital history and her present, unmarried relationship is for him to take the risk of becoming intimately involved in all aspects this this woman’s life, especially the emotional and the spiritual.  No doubt her community criticizes her because she lives as a wife with a man to whom she is not married.  If anyone saw her talking with Jesus, they would no doubt chastise her, since she is a woman and should know her place, especially as a Samaritan in relation to a Jew.

But look at what is really happening here.  Look at the relationship that is developing.  You will notice that Jesus avoids any discussion about why he, a Jew, is talking with a woman, and a Samaritan woman at that.  You will notice that by asking for a drink, for he himself is thirsty, Jesus sets up the conversation so that he can pass from the surface issue regarding his own desire to quench his thirst, and get to the deeper level of conversation regarding the spiritual thirst of the woman who stands before him.  The issue for Jesus is not the Law, not gender, not race, but the spiritual well-being of the PERSON!  And once the knowledge of Christ reaches the soul, a change of heart follows.

I have no doubt that when scripture states that “the woman left her water jar, and went away into the city, and said to the people, ‘Come, see someone who told me all that I ever did.  Can this be the Christ?'” that she did not casually set her water jar down next to the well and saunter back to town.  Rather she dropped it on the ground and ran full speed with the knowledge that she had just spoken with the Messiah!  That the Messiah had taken an interest in her, a Samaritan woman, and told her all about her life!

“Many Samaritans from that city believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony.”

Here, people, is the first evangelist.  Jesus tells the woman that he is the Messiah.  The passion with which she tells the others has them believing without having seen Jesus.  It is only after Jesus stays for two days and talks and teaches do the people say to the woman, “It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”  This woman’s soul is touched by the love and compassion of a gentle man sitting at a well, and very quickly she knows in her heart that she has spoken to the Messiah, the living water!  She, a half-gentile woman!

When I was a student, I did my laundry at Laundromats for seven years.  There is a lot of water at Laundromats and an enormous amount of conversation and activity, evidence that it is one of society’s “wells”, a place where people draw together for a common purpose, a place where people meet others that they would not otherwise meet.  I find it fascinating to watch the relationships that develop in a Laundromat.  Many is the time I have sat and listened to someone’s life and spiritual thirst, although if I told them I thought they were thirsting for Christ they probably would have got up and left.

People tend not to like to hear the truth about themselves.  I find it ironic that in a place where we cleanse our clothes, the soul also yearns for cleansing from a compassionate neighbour.  If you desire an opportunity to witness the power of the living water in action, go to a laundromat.  God does indeed communicate with us at wells.  But more than that, we are called to be wells to others who thirst for the living water.

Like the Samaritan woman, we should be passionate about our relationship with the Messiah, the Christ.  Again, I draw our attention to the conversation at the well.  For whom did Jesus have compassion and with whom did he share his identity?  It was a person who was thrice labeled; first, as a half-gentile–an impure Jew; second, as a woman and lastly as a sinner, a woman who deliberately went against the laws Moses gave for marriage.  It was also a person whose spirit was thirsty.  And what did Jesus do?  Who are we?  How would we react if Jesus told us all we ever did?  And still the compassion, the love and the living water is always there for us.  Jesus sees us as we are and accepts us – the whole, imperfect package .  All of us have gifts for being witnesses to our faith.  Although we ourselves often feel inadequate for the task, or others help us believe it, nevertheless, Jesus has touched our lives and wants us to be wells of living water to others.  Think of the power that water has in our lives–in bathing little children and invalid adults, in baptism, in tears of grief and caring at times of illness, death, or despairing of faith; in tears of joy and laughter that come from the center of our being, in watering flowers and vegetable gardens that we have tenderly planted and whose beauty and produce we share with others; the confidential outpouring of soul-mates over numerous, steaming cups of coffee and tea, the incredible rejuvenating power of a long soak in a hot tub, and of course, the cold glass of ice-water under the scorching heat of the sun on a summer’s day.

Ponder the many wells in your life, their sacredness, and those you meet there.  Realize the life-spring of Christ that is within you, and the power that gives you.  Pray for the strength to see beyond labels and society’s influence and nourish the soul of the person.  If one woman could bring to faith many people in one city, think of how the unified body of Christ, the Church, could radically change the world–how many thirsts of the spirit would be quenched, how many lives brought from darkness into light.  We who have been touched by the grace of God in our dark night of the soul are better equipped with compassion and understanding to minister to those who suffer at this present time.  No matter our age or occupation–all of us were met by Jesus at baptism and given the living water.  By the power of the Holy Spirit we come together in faith to help each other recognize our gifts for spreading the Gospel.

It really is not that difficult.  Jesus said, “Give me a drink.”  We may ask, “How are you?”, and mean it.  We may smile at the person in the food court as we proceed to sit next to them, we may laugh with the person in the grocery store line-up over the headlines of the ‘scandal-sheets’, yet always looking beyond for the slightest sign of a thirsty soul.

God and water are necessary for life.  It is fitting that God continues to meet us at wells.  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH:  VU 105  Dust And Ashes Touch Our Face


Creator of Heaven and Earth,

We thank you for all your creation and the rebirth of life. We thank you for this new day and each day,

week, month and season. We gather in unison through prayer to celebrate the flame we have created to be this day. Allow us the time to continue this journey together as Christian and United people, as God’s people, people and nations of the land, humble and spiritual people.

Source of life, hear our prayer

Creator, this day we ask for blessings for all our communities across this land- the many nations with our many languages, teachings, with our many identities and good ways of living in solidarity, acceptance and abundance. Allow us to see one another in a good way, in an accepting and loving way. Lift our spirit to be enlightened by your love and encouragement.

Source of life, hear our prayer.

Creator, this day we ask for blessings for all our newborn and infant children and their needed care and nourishment. For all our youth and young adults. Lead them to good experiences and relationships in their lives. For all men, women, two-spirited, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, A gender, pangender, genderqueer, third gender and non-gender specific humankind. We are one with each other.  For all those that need healing, support, guidance, and most of all love in our communities. For those that need mental healing, those in care facilities, relations in hospital care, relations on the street, and relations who are strangers to us who need a friendly acknowledgement. Allow our flame to ignite joy to others in our world.

Source of life, hear our prayer.

Thank you, Creator, for it is a new day! Today we celebrate a new life, a birth of a new start of a dying

soul, a reactivation of the steps we walk on this path which we call life.  People of the land, my relations, wake up. Look to the east, the sun is rising. It is a good day! Do not be afraid. The sun will bring light to the dark. And we can all praise the Creator for all the sacred and loving gifts that we have in our life. The air we breathe to sing, the water we replenish our bodies with, the fire that creates warmth, and the land that supports us when we dance in celebration. All of Creation Sings!

In Jesus name we pray. Amen.


SENDING SONG:  MV 109  My Soul Is Thirsting For You


With gladness we continue to build God’s house. We do not go alone in this journey of building up. We go with a great cloud of witness, our sisters, the prophets, and the saints. Go with the grace and love of God. Amen.


Copyright © 2016 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS011617.
© 2011 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/byncsa/2.5/ca.