The theme of the event was ‘streams in the desert’
By LINDA M. LINONIS
To complement the theme of the World Day of Prayer, “Streams in the Desert,” the Rev. Katie Oskin spoke on the “living water,” which is Jesus, during an observance at First Baptist Church, 59 Orchard Ave.
Just as the Nile River gives life to the desert in Egypt, so does Jesus bring the “spirit of living water,” she said.
The Rev. Luke Oskin noted “wherever two or more are gathered in His name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20) He said the participants at the Hubbard church were part of a worldwide gathering.
The Rev. Mr. Oskin said World Day of Prayer was begun by Christian women. The first event was Jan. 9, 1920, in Canada, followed by a gathering in the United States on Feb. 20, 1920. Each year, the World Day of Prayer organization assigns the task of writing the script to the World Day of Prayer committee in a different country. This year, women of Egypt wrote the worship service for the event, which is always the first Friday in March.
The Rev. Mrs. Oskin shared the pulpit with her husband and delivered the message. As the basis for her talk, she selected the story of the Samaritan woman at the well who encounters Jesus. In that time, she noted, the local well was a gathering and social place.
Jesus was a Jew and the woman a Samaritan and the two groups did not interact. But Jesus goes contrary to practice and speaks to the woman and asks her for a drink of water. “They should ignore one another, but Jesus doesn’t do that,” she said. “And the woman speaks to Him.”
Mrs. Oskin said, “Jesus reveals Himself as the living water and gives her the promise to never thirst again.”
In essence, Jesus tells her He is the messiah, the minister said, noting that the Samaritan woman shares that information with others in the village. “She might be seen as the first missionary in the Bible,” Mrs. Oskin said.
There’s also another dynamic going on, Mrs. Oskin said. The conversation reveals that the Samaritan woman has had five husbands and is living with a man. “We’re not told the details of her life,” Mrs. Oskin said, adding, “Do we make assumptions about her?”
The minister said there always is more than one side to a story. “Christ asks us to judge on the side of grace, not condemnation,” she said. “At that time, life was very hard for a woman. If the husband died, she became a beggar, prostitute or married a relative of the husband.”
From the story, we should take away the idea that Jesus wants people to have “freedom, grace, mercy, forgiveness, but most of all, eternal life,” Mrs. Oskin said.
World Day of Prayer material notes that the event “promotes justice and equality for women through prayer, partnership, service and celebration.”
Other World Day of Prayer programs took place at St. James Catholic Church in North Jackson, Canfield Christian Church and Park Vista South Chapel in Youngstown.