Monday, February 6, 2012

Rivers of Living Waters

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” John 7:37-52

Diving into moving waters is an extraordinary experience. The ocean waves at high tide can be amazing at certain times of year, climbing higher that a many story building and pushing everything in its path. A raging river, swollen with spring or summer rains, can undermine whole towns and wash everyone and everything down stream. The power of water is never to be underestimated. Even on a calm day by the ocean, rip currents can form and capture a swimmer and carry them far from home and shore. There is nothing you can do once you get caught. You have to give in and ride the current until you can find safe passage to the shore. The power of living water, the waters of baptism are like wise. We are drawn in, swept along, surrounded by God's strength and power for the good of others.

Jesus was testifying about his relationship to God and who he had been called to be. His words were hard for some to hear, thinking he was being self-promoting, arrogant and rude, Jesus was announcing his relationship with God and their invitation to participate in the family of God by faith alone. Some wanted his religious credentials, wanted him to prove his cultural prowess before they would accept his teaching. The invitation of Jesus, to those who believe, is the power of God will reside within humanity, and we will be given strength upon strength for the care of the world. Hard to accept but also hard to resist, that God would give power to the likes of us, and would reside within us, broken and flawed as we might be.

Today I ask God to take up residence in my heart. May it be a place of living waters, overflowing with compassion and tenderness, insight and love. May we accept the invitation of Jesus today, to be filled to overflowing with rivers of living waters, life giving, transforming source from the heart of God. May we humbly accept the love of God into our lives, so that the world might know the transforming power of God with us.

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