37 On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted,
“All who are thirsty should come to me!
38 All who believe in me should drink!
As the scriptures said concerning me,
Rivers of living water will flow out from within him.”
A few years ago, I decided to go on a hike in July. In my planning, I underestimated three things: 1) the heat. 2) the distance. 3) the amount of sun along the trail. By the time I finished, I was completely out of water. When I got back to my car, I was desperate. I don’t think I’d ever been that thirsty. I was in such a bad way that I was seriously considering drinking some very murky, very questionable Pine Barrens water.
When you are very thirsty, nothing seems more inviting than a river of fresh, clear water.
And when things are difficult – when we feel like we are alone and struggling in the world – we want nothing more than to know that God will not abandon us, that God cares and is with us. At the lowest times in my life, I have been desperate for God’s presence – every bit as desperate as I was for water on that hot day in the Pines.
“When you feel that way,” Jesus says, “come to me.” All of us have a longing for these promises, a thirst to know the reality of God’s presence with us. This is why Christ came into the world, so that those dying to know the peace and presence of God might never be thirsty again.
When we read the gospels, we are hearing the story of God’s boundless love for us. Every healing, every promise of forgiveness, every word of wisdom about love and hope and faith – it’s all meant to remind us that God is here, that God is present, that God cares. Rivers of living water are no farther away than the Bible and prayer.
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
When have you been desperate for God’s presence?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, when we feel alone and afraid, refresh us with your presence. Remind us of your great love for us. Pour out your Spirit on us like cool water on a hot summer day. Help us to know that you care. Amen.
As We Begin Lent
For our Lent series this year, we’ll be using the Adam Hamilton book Luke: Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts, and Outlaws. At his website, you can find a 40-day reading plan to help you read through the Gospel of Luke during Lent. And join us for worship, in-person or online, at 9:00 & 10:30 every Sunday.