Daily Devotion for February 4, 2011
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples.
Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love.
Grant me the Spirit of Fear of the Lord that I may be filled with a loving reverence toward You;
the Spirit of Piety that I may find peace and fulfillment in the service of God while serving others;
the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation;
the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know You and know myself and grow in holiness;
the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your truth;
the Spirit of Counsel that I may choose the surest way of doing Your will, seeking first the Kingdom;
Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may aspire to the things that last forever;
Teach me to be Your faithful disciple and animate me in every way with Your Spirit.
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity;
To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion—
A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.
Jesus and the Woman of Samaria 
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" ( For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
Notes on the Scripture
If you look in the map section, at Roman Colonies at the Time of Herod and/or Roman Judea in the First Century, you will see why Jesus needed to cross Samaria to get home from Jerusalem. (The town of Sychar is shown on the second map.) Israel has disappeared. The greater kingdom of Judea is a part of what we now call Israel the nation, since it is peopled by the descendants of Israel the man (also known as Jacob).
He comes to the place called "Jacob's Well". This was where Jacob (also called "Israel") met his wives, the sisters Leah and Rachel. (He fell in love with Rachel and wanted to marry her. The father would not, however, let the younger daughter marry before the elder; so in return for seven years' service, he let Jacob marry both them — at the same time!) Their twelve children became the first members of the eponymous twelve tribes of Israel. (See Genesis 29.)
If you compare a map of Roman Judea to a map of Israel at the time of the Kings, you see how much it is diminished by the time Rome conquers it. The Kingdom of Israel has disappeared; all that is left is a colony called Galilee. What was the southern part of Israel is now called Samaria, and its people, Samaritans.
Samaria was actually the capital city of the Kingdom of Israel. When Israel was overrun by the Assyrians around 700 BC, a number of Hebrews died or were translocated to Assyria. The various heathen people who came to live there, mixed in among the Hebrews, worshipped Greek gods or local deities (usually statues). They were despised by devout Hebrews because of their culture and their failure to follow the Laws of Moses (such as the Ten Commandments), especially the most basic commandments to worship only the true God and not make graven images.
This despisal of the Samaritans reappears in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.