Tuesday, September 13, 2022

339. Lent 3 Hymn (Series A)

The lessons for this Sunday of the LSB 3-year series are Exodus 17:1-7, Romans 5:1-8 and John 4:5-42 (minus some omitted verses). Again, I'm enjoying the feeling of covering new ground, particularly with the Gospel lesson. My only other previous reference to this story, to my recollection, is in this hymn, where it's but one vignette in a huge mosaic. (Look for the phrase "Woman of Sychar.")

Jesus, wearied from much walking,
Sitting down by Jacob's well,
Asked for drink, a woman shocking—
Her a halfbreed infidel!
"Had you known I AM, I think,
Me would you have asked for drink.

"From My living water's fountain
Those who drink shall thirst no more.
Nor from city, nor from mountain,
Will you presently adore
God, who seeks the devotee
Who in truth will bow the knee."

"Is this not the Christ?" she wondered,
Running home to share the news.
Many more His sayings pondered
And believed, though hardly Jews.
Lo, the harvest bursting ripe,
Reaping to eternal life!

Savior, for all nations dying—
Infidels as well as Jews—
And a purer blood supplying
Than our own, let it perfuse
Every unclean thing we've done;
Let us drink of You, God's Son!

Knowing what we've done, Lord Jesus,
Give us still Your living draft!
Thus, in You the Father sees us,
As a vine accepts a graft—
Drinking from one living Root,
Yours in spirit and in truth.

I tried writing this hymn to a different tune, but somehow it wouldn't come. I stalled a little more than one line into the second stanza and couldn't get unstuck. Never one to indulge in a fit of writer's block, I decided to scotch my work so far and start over with a different tune, different meter and all. But then I realized the lyrics I was writing didn't fit the second tune either. So, I went looking for a third tune, to suit the text already partly written ... and then I accidently slipped back into the meter of the second tune and didn't realize it until after I'd finished the hymn. So, I had to switch back again, and re-write the first stanza ... (ugh) it's been a long night. The tune I ended up with is one that the 1970s Australian Lutheran Hymnal used three times. And with that, good night!

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