SCRIPTURE: John 7:37-39
Rivers of Living Water
37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Thomas G. Long reminds us that “When thirsty people come to Jesus, he does not merely hand them a spiritual beverage, momentary relief for thirst; he gives them instead the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (this is why this text appears in the lectionary at Pentecost). Through the Spirit, believers participate in the unceasing life of God, and the water of abundant life flows and flows through them.”
Long points out an especially important reality of our faith when he writes, “Through the Spirit, believers participate in the unceasing life of God, and the water of abundant life flows through them.” While I agree with many people that as believers we should have a “personal relationship” with God, I think that concept often becomes more of a focal point for some people than the reality that the Christian faith is more about community and connection than individualism. Our faith holds us together in community, as children of God, as brothers and sisters in Christ. And as we face times in our world when division continues to rise up as different groups of people continue to be ignored, oppressed, and held down, now may just be the most important time to remember that connection and community and stand with those who are being mistreated and even killed. Jesus called out injustice, and as a community of faith. Just imagine how powerful our collective voices could be if we came together in support of those who need it most.
For what do you thirst? What needs quenching in your life? How do you think your answers might be different if we were not in the middle of a global pandemic?
Providing God, we ask that you dwell deeply in our lives, satisfying all pangs of hunger and quenching all thirsts. We know that you alone offer the water that will leave us never thirsty again. Help us to be open and invitational to your Holy Spirit, that our hearts might always be open to its leading. Amen.