A Simple Maundy Thursday Service

Washing of Feet by Leszek Forczek

As people arrive, they’re encouraged to wash each other’s hands. We choose to do this in our courtyard, outside the entrance to the sanctuary.

Needed: Pitchers with water, soaps, bowls, towels, tables, facilitators

Facilitator Script for Washing One Another’s Hands
The facilitator welcomes people to the handwashing station, explains the meaning of the practice, and what to do. People are encouraged to come to the washing stations in groups of two or more.

Jesus washed feet. We wash hands.The body part is not the essential point. We follow Christ in serving one another, in being vulnerable to one another. It is a sign of Christ’s love at work in us.

One person places their hands over the bowl. Another person pours water over the first person’s hands and uses soap to wash them. Take your time and express your care. The second person rinses and dries the first person’s hands. Now switch roles.

After the hand washing, as persons enter the sanctuary, they receive a handout with John 13:1-17, 34-35 NRSV plus reflection questions. They’re encouraged to read and reflect on the scripture as they wait for everyone to have their hands washed.

Reflection Questions:

  • What word or phrase in this passage captures your attention?
  • What connections do you see to your own experience or current situation? To other scriptures? Or to the character and promises of God?
  • What is God inviting you to trust, say, or do?
  • How will your life be different because you encountered this scripture today?
  • Talk to God about what you just experienced or anything else on your heart.

Optional: As people wait, play some soft background music. You could also show THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO that combines instrumental piano music and scriptures about forgiveness by Dan Musselman.

Once everyone has gathered, begin the service. 

This can be any song of your choosing.
We used Servant Song, CCLI Song # 72673
Richard Gillard © Words: 1977 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.) Music: 1977 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)

OPENING PRAYER: Make Me Your Love, by Lisa Degrenia
Rabbi Jesus, Promised Messiah
Son of the One, True, Living God

Fill me with your Spirit
Make me your love

It is your command
It is your way
It is your gift
It is You and your work

Yes, make me your witness
And yes, make me your will
But first and always, make me your love

Three Readers: Narrator, Jesus, Peter

Jesus was troubled in spirit

Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.

The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.

One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter, therefore, motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.

So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.
After Judas received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him.

Do quickly what you are going to do.

Now no one at the table knew why Jesus said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor.

So, after receiving the piece of bread, Judas immediately went out. And it was night.
Later Simon Peter said to Jesus,

Lord, where are you going?

Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.

Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.

Will you lay down your life for me?
Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION: Denial, by Steve Garnaas Holmes
I deny you, Christ when I deny my own divinity.
I deny you when I deny the divinity of those I condemn.
I deny you when I do not hear you in the oppressed and rejected.
I deny you when I turn from my glorious giftedness.
I deny you when I am afraid to stand with those at risk.
I deny you when in my guilt I doubt your love.
And still, you love.

Let remembering’s bitterness awaken me.
Let my weeping be my wisdom.

To the frightening, to the infinite,
to the compassionate, to the holy,
help me say yes.

Let me die with yes on my lips.

Moment of silence


Excerpts of John 17, NRSV

ONE: Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

This can be any song of your choosing.
We used Cornerstone followed by the Chorus of How Great Thou Art

Cornerstone, CCLI Song # 6158927
Edward Mote | Eric Liljero | Jonas Myrin | Reuben Morgan | William Batchelder Bradbury
© 2011 Hillsong MP Songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

How Great Thou Art, CCLI Song # 14181
Stuart Wesley Keene Hine
© Copyright 1949 and 1953 Stuart Hine Trust CIO Stuart K. Hine Trust (Administration: USA All rights by Capitol CMG Publishing


Service conceived and compiled by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia and Macon Armistead © 2023

You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting without asking permission. It’s always a treat to hear from you if you’re using it. Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in a book, blog, etc.

Three Prayers Inspired by Jesus and the Woman at the Well, John 4

Woman at the Well by Wayne Forte

Jesus answered her, “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.” The 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.” – John 4:14-15

You Answer by Lisa Degrenia
We are dry

Parched with a thirst we cannot appease
Tongues heavy and stuck
No words escaping
We are too poor
Too broken
Too desolate

You alone answer our silent screams
You, the Lord God

You fill and flood and quench
A wild river on the barren peaks
An ancient fountain in the deep wasteland
A still pool for resting and rooting
A spring of water gushing up to eternal life

You, answer
You, the Lord God, will never forsake

Fill us by Lisa Degrenia
God of the Wilderness, God of the Well
Your unseen work is real and near and constant
like a deep, clear spring

Fill us. Fill us now.
Fill us with truth
the truth of you, the truth of who we are in you
the truth of who we can become

Fill us with boldness to witness and testify
to your victory, your companionship, your call

Fill us with strength and skills far beyond us
Fill us with courage to do hard, holy things
to break down dividing walls
to seek and question
to embrace our belovedness and place in your plan

Fill us with passion
Fill us with hope
Fill us with joy

Fill us till our cups runneth over

Fill us with You

Pause in silence to receive

Spirit and Truth by Lisa Degrenia
Jesus said, “But 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.” – John 4:23

People of God, Rejoice!
Our Eternal and Beautiful God is near
The One who meets us as we are
The One who names us beloved
The One who delights in our very existence
Come and worship in spirit and truth

Holy Spirit, Holy One
Holy Spirit, Descending Dove
Alight on me that I may know your presence
Anoint me that I may know your call
Fill me that I may know your power
Guide me that I may know your path
Name me that I may know, that I know, that I know who I am
And live your truth

CLICK HERE for an opening prayer, prayer of confession, and pardon inspired by the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. 


I’ll be posting prayers based on the Gospel of John throughout Lent this year as part of our Lenten Reading Plan. Here’s your invitation to join us for this reading plan.  

Three Prayers Inspired by Jesus and the Woman at the Well © 2023 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia. You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting without asking permission. It’s always a treat to hear from you if you’re using it. Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in a book, blog, etc.

Prayers Inspired by Jesus and the Woman at the Well, John 4.5-42

Olivewood sculpture from the Holy Land

Opening Prayer
We remember the woman at the well –
     her questions, her truth, her witness.
Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, so like her
     we may ask candidly,
     reveal ourselves deeply, and
     share your Good News freely.
Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us,
     so we may worship you in spirit and truth.

Prayer of Confession
Jesus, we thirst
We thirst for love and belonging
We thirst for security and provision
We thirst for truth and hope
We thirst for healing for our wounds
We thirst for mercy for our sin, our guilt, our shame

Time of silent confession

Assurance of Pardon
Jesus, you pour yourself out for us and the world
     so we may be born again of water and the Spirit,
     so we may never thirst again

We thank you and praise you for your eternal blessing and forgiveness.
Help us lead others to the well of your saving love.

John 4:5-42 is read on the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year A

Prayers Inspired by Jesus and the Woman at the Well © 2023 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

There’s More to Life Woman of Samaria (John 4.3-26)

woman at well olive wood statue carving

Olive Wood carving of the Woman at the Well from Jerusalem. We brought this treasure back with us from our recent trip.

Sermon Series: There’s More to Life
Message 2 of 5: Woman of Samaria (Woman at the Well)

Scripture: John 4:3-26
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 3/31/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Rebekah Lyons testimony of God’s unconditional love. Rebekah is the mother of a child with Down syndrome.

Reading of John 4:3-26

The Woman at the Well
In the ancient world, your place as a woman was defined by your connection to a man:
Father, Brother, Husband, Son. We’re not just talking about social status- we’re talking access to what’s needed to survive.

  • Shelter from the extreme heat and cold of the desert
  • Food in your belly and clothes on your back
  • Loving relationships to weather you through the cruelties of life
  • Access to water on a regular basis

Where is her father? Most likely deceased.

Where is her brother, her sons, her children? Maybe she had none.

Where is the husband? Scripture tells us she’s had five husbands. Could it be in this harsh and cruel environment she’s lost five husbands to death? Maybe.

Could it be that because men in this time and culture controlled marriage and controlled divorce, could it be that she’s been thrown away five times? Told to go, you are not wanted.

The man she’s with now will not claim her legally. She has been shared and shamed, a survivor of cruelty and abuse.

She is an outcast in her community. We know this because in the ancient world went to the well based on their status. The most respected admired women would visit the well first, and she’s drawing her morning water at noon.

She is alone. Not in the company of the other women. Not enjoying their camaraderie and community.

This unnamed woman is barren of security. She’s been thrown away, driven away, shared and shamed, outcast, isolated.

She finds herself at Jacob’s well and today there’s a man there. He is Jewish. She is Samaritan. I imagine what is going through her mind and heart: How much more shame and disgrace am I going to get today? Jews and Samaritans don’t hang out. Am I going to hear from this man’s lips, “Half-breed! Heretic!”?

No. She hears from the lips of our Jesus respect. Good News.

They’re at a well, so Jesus uses the metaphor of water to share the Good News of Living Water, cleansing, refreshing, restoring, new birth. It is available to her.

He gives her a chance to reveal herself and she does. She’s honest and truthful. He recognizes it. The conversation could have gone any direction,  at that point and she dives in deep theologically.

Jesus sees her, not what people label her. He sees how she’s been abused, her great need, her wounds, and yet he sees her giftedness. He sees her keen mind.

They begin a discussion like rabbi and to rabbi. Where do we worship and how do we worship and is there a place for me in worshiping God?

This is the longest theological discussion in the four Gospels. This unnamed woman of Samaria.

Deep down, deep down, deep down the question she is asking and the question each and every one of asks is: Does God want me and does God love me?

That is the core question. My community threw me out. They’ve shamed me and abused me. The Jews say I’m not worshiping in the right place in the right way. The Messiah is coming …

The core question: Does God want me and does God love me. The answer is always Yes! Always! 

It is yes to the woman of Samaria and it is yes to us.

No matter what the world names us. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. No matter what we’ve done to survive. The answer is always Yes!

The love of God is unconditional love. The love of God comes without judgment. “God sent his son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17)

This emptiness, this dryness, this wilderness, can only be quench by Jesus’s living water, Jesus’s saving love.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

– Chorus of Reckless Love by Cory Asbury

This week the Towery boys found it and claimed it for themselves. Rebekah Lyons saw it in the unconditional love of her son with Down syndrome. A great gift that he’s sharing. The woman at the well finds it in Jesus and shares it as well. She becomes one of the first evangelists. She runs back to the people who’ve been awful to her and says, “I think the Messiah is at the well.” They come, Jesus stays with them for days and many are saved.

Closing Prayer from Ephesians 3
Repetition of the word love

17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18 I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Insert your name or someone else’s name as a prayer of blessing that you/they would know the unconditional love of God and place their trust in Jesus as their Leader and Forgiver (Lord and Savior).

Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen ___________. Fill ___________’s soul with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith the Anointed One will reside in his/her heart. May love be the rich soil where ________’s life takes root. May it be the bedrock where ___________’s life is founded, so that together with all of Your people, he/she will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God may Your fullness flood through __________’s entire being. Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen.

Woman of Samaria (Woman at the Well) Sermon © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Be sure to also check out Steve Garnaas Holmes reflection Woman at the Well on his blog Unfolding Light.