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St. John's Worship Service - March 12, 2023
Pastor Wende Bleam
Pastor Wende Bleam
Sunday, March 12, 2023
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In today’s gospel the Samaritan woman asks Jesus for water, an image of our thirst for God. Jesus offers living water, a sign of God’s grace flowing from the waters of baptism. The early church used this gospel and those of the next two Sundays to deepen baptismal reflection during the final days of preparation before baptism at Easter. As we journey to the resurrection feast, Christ comes among us in word, bath, and meal—offering us the life-giving water of God’s mercy and forgiveness.


PRELUDE        Sound of Living Waters Medley    (Pulkingham)


Blessed be the holy Trinity,  one God, who journeys with us these forty days, and sustains us with the gift of grace. Amen.

Let us acknowledge before God and one another our need for repentance and God’s mercy.

Holy God,
we confess to you our faults and failings. Too often we neglect and do not trust your holy word; we take for ourselves instead of giving to others; we spoil rather than steward your creation; we cause hurt though you call us to heal; we choose fear over compassion. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, as we seek to follow in your way of life. Amen.

Hear the good news: God so loved the world that God gave the only Son,
so that all may receive life. This promise is for you! God embraces you with divine mercy,  forgives you in Christ’s name, and revives you in the Spirit’s power. Amen.
* indicates please stand as you are able
Let us pray. 
Merciful God, the fountain of living water, you quench our thirst and wash away our sin. Give us this water always. Bring us to drink from the well that flows with the beauty of your truth through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

GATHERING SONG   I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say (ELW 332)


FIRST READING: Exodus 17:1-7
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: Psalm 95
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 psalms.
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. 
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.’” 


SECOND READING: Romans 5:1-11
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
The holy gospel according to John. Glory to you, O Lord.
5[Jesus] 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.”

The gospel of the Lord.  Praise to you, O Christ.
MEDITATION                            Pastor Wende Bleam

HYMN OF THE DAY  Come to Me, All Pilgrims Thirsty (ELW 777)


I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.* On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.


Please place your offering in the plate near the Sanctuary door any time during or following worship. Your offering and tithes may be made on line through our  website:  or sent by mail to
St. John’s Lutheran church, 1500 Glen Avenue, Folcroft, PA 19032.


God of good gifts, receive these and all our offerings as we present them in faithful service for the sake of your gospel. Prepare our hearts to receive you in this meal as you pour out your very presence through Christ Jesus, the wellspring of eternal life.


Sustained by God’s abundant mercy, let us pray for the church, the world, and all of creation.

We pray for your church. Bless partnerships with other Christians and inter-religious dialogue. Guide the daily work of denominational and congregational leaders. Strengthen our combined witness for the sake of the gospel, that all experience your life-giving love. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

We pray for the universe. All creation teems with life, from the depths of the earth and seas to the skies above. Fill us with awe and reverence for the diversity and preservation of life. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

We pray for the nations of the world. Topple the dividing walls that separate us from our neighbors. Form us into your beloved community where diversity of gender, race, language, ability, and ethnic origin is celebrated and affirmed. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

Lord, we pray for the Ukrainian people that they be surrounded by your love and protection against the attacks on their country.  Lift them up and protect them, end this war against them and let your peace reign.   Merciful God, receive our prayer.

We pray for those who suffer in mind, body, or spirit. Be present with all who are lonely, and give courage to all who are afraid. Comfort those who live with chronic illness or other sickness. We pray especially for Justin, Kathy and Rich McLaughlin, Carol, Connor, Ana, Helen, Arlene, Jose, Hoon, Connie, Pat, Hazel, Deb, Joe, Ruth, Lisa, Bill, Rick, Dick, Alisia, Jacklyn, Lillian, Alexis, Jim and those we now raise before you in our hearts.  We pray for those affected by the Covid virus in mind, body or spirit.  Grant them healing and wholeness.  Merciful God, receive our prayer.

We pray for this congregation, especially those preparing for baptism. Nurture their faith and pour your love into their hearts. Inspire our community by their testimony to God’s grace in their lives. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

We give thanks for the lives of all your saints. Their hope in you sustained lives of faith and service. Encourage us with the hope they shared in you. Merciful God,receive our prayer.

We lift our prayers to you, O God, trusting in your steadfast love and your promise to renew your whole creation; through Jesus Christ our Savior.




Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray 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,
   and the power, and the glory,
   forever and ever. Amen.

God, the giver of love,
 Christ, the resurrection and the life,
and the Holy Spirit of rebirth
bless you in this Lenten journey.








* SENDING SONG  Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer (ELW 618)

DISMISSAL - Go in peace. Serve in love. Thanks be to God.

POSTLUDE:      Postlude in e    (Purcell) 

We hope that this service was meaningful for you and brought God’s peace and comfort into your homes.  Continue to wear a mask and wash your hands frequently and to love others as yourself.  Pray, trust, believe and wait. See you next week.

You are welcome to watch the live service at 10:15 am at
Or you can watch live streaming on the St. John's website:
If you are having trouble accessing, please let us know.
The ETERNAL CANDLE is sponsored for the month of March by MaryAnne Rossi in honor of her daughters on their birthday.

Mid-Week Lenten Services – This year, services will be held at 7:00 pm with fellowship and light refreshments following worship. Focus this year will be on the “Sights and Sounds of Lent”. There will not be a healing service this year, but we will do it later on a Sunday at St. John’s (tbd).
3/15 - Purple – at Immanuel, Norwood - Preaching, Pr. Rachel Scheible
3/22 - Cross – at Holy Trinity, Wallingford - Preaching, Pr. Jenn Casey 
3/29 – Palms – at St. Matthew, Springfield - Preaching, Pr. Marie Sager
                   Communion will be held at this service
      Offerings will go to Lutheran Disaster Relief - Turkey earthquakes.

YOU CAN HELP!  You can be a good steward AND get your grocery shopping done.  Did you know that if you purchase a grocery food gift card from St. John’s, our congregation will receive 5% of all sales of gift cards.  Please see Ruth Weaver if you wish to purchase and gift cards.  Thank you for helping us raise that 5% for helping to continue our ministry. 


Lenten Food Drive going to Mt. Zion

           5 - Breakfast items – cereal, oatmeal, breakfast bars, muffin mixes
         12 - Lunch items – soup, canned pasta, tuna, peanut butter/jelly, ramen noodles
         19 - Dinner items – canned ham, spam, chili, canned vegetables, pasta and spaghetti sauce
         26 - Healthy snacks – canned fruit, applesauce, pretzels, crackers, rice cakes, popcorn

Each week, we collect food for our hungry neighbors in need in our SHARING GOD'S BOUNTY WAGON.  Hunger doesn’t take a vacation.  Please consider making a donation of a food item each week. If you are in need of food, please notify Pastor Wende and she will let you know available what we have available.
Our Financial Response  (February)  

Budgeted costs per month                     $   8,510.68
Offering last month                         $   5,300.29

Budget required to date (2 months)             $  17,021.36
Total received to date                         $  10,355.58

Budget required to date (2 months)             $     800.00
Total received to date                         $     828.22

Please continue to support St. John's.  Our expenses continue each month even if we are not all worshipping together inside our building.

Your offering and tithes may be made on line through our  website:  or sent by mail to
St. John’s Lutheran church, 1500 Glen Avenue, Folcroft, PA 19032.

Easter flowers are beautiful, and this year, again, we would love to see them in our sanctuary.  Make your check payable to St. John’s and send to the church office along with the Easter Flower tear-off included at the end of this bulletin. You may also call the office and leave a message with your specific wishes, or send an email to the office , Be sure to specify your wishes on the tear-off, and if you are giving in honor or in memory of someone. We will list all who have made flower dedications in the Easter bulletin.

This year we are offering  Lilies ($9), Mums ($8) and Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinths ($7). 

There are extra forms available on the hallway table to sponsor Easter flowers.

Deadline for ordering flowers is March 27.


Easter Flowers 

Choose from:

  Lilies ($9)   Mums ($8)
  Daffodils       Hyacinths      Tulips  (all $7)

      Given by _________________________________________________________

In memory of ______________________________________________________

In honor of ________________________________________________________

Make checks payable to St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Place this envelope in the offering or return to the Church Office.
Deadline for ordering: March 27