Monday, June 9, 2014

Rivers of Living Water

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. (Jn 7:37-39)

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Isa 12:3) It was the last day of the feast of booths, every morning the people joined in a parade drawing water from the pool of Siloam and swinging brooms of myrtle, willow and palm branches. The priests would pour out the water on the altar as a prayer for rain and a good harvest. But this was the seventh day, seven times the parade danced around the altar singing “with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation!” The feast reached a climax of which the Jews would say, if you hadn’t been a part of this parade, you did not know what joy was. It was then that Jesus would stand up in the crowd, a wanted man whose murder was being plotted, his very own brothers, those gathered in the upper room with the rest of the disciples on the day of Pentecost, they too had been brought in on the murder plot, daring Jesus to come to the feast of booths where they knew he would be arrested and charged with blasphemy. But the hour of Jesus glory had not yet come. So he stands and he yells, “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.” It is the fulfillment of these words that we celebrate today, as the Spirit is given in the wake of Jesus’s glorification, his death and resurrection. The Spirit is given and the wells of salvation burst forth with joy.
That is Pentecost folks, the wells of salvation bursting forth a flood upon those who thirst, the Spirit poured out on all flesh, the Spirit poured out upon the souls of sons and daughters who once again prophesy as Moses desired for all God’s people. Yes, you sons and daughters, children of God, you prophesy, that is you speak with the Holy Spirit.  Because you drink of Jesus, believing in him that even out of your hearts flow the rivers of living water that doused you in Baptism. The Spirit has been given, poured out upon you, because Jesus has now been glorified.
It all waited for that, Jesus to be glorified, Jesus to be crucified. There on the cross the wells of salvation would flow, blood and water gush from his pierced side. That those who thirst for righteousness would be sprinkled with the clean water of which Ezekiel spoke,(Ezekiel 36:25) cleansed from all our sins, be given the Holy Spirit and turned from all our idols and find salvation in death, the death of Christ into which we were buried in baptism, that just as he was risen from the dead, we too might walk in the newness of life, with the joy of salvation restored. The joy of salvation restored.
Such joy as visited the disciples on the day of Pentecost, a joy of salvation, the joy that inspires angels to rejoice as even one sinner repents, as even one sinner is baptized. This is joy, your salvation, and the giving of the Holy Spirit poured out on all flesh.  Black or white, brown or yellow, tanned like leather in old age, or with the translucence of a newborn, this Spirit is poured out on all flesh making disciples of all nations, as even you children of God, prophecy as sons and daughters.
And this you do as the joy of salvation breaks forth from your hearts in rivers of living water and you gospelize your own sons and daughters, family and friends and bring them to the font of salvation. No, you do it. You gospelize, you evangelize. You do it because you have been gospelized, you have drunk and had your thirst for righteousness quenched so you thirst no more. And now you prophesy like that Samaritan woman Jesus met at the well of Jacob in John 4, as you go and tell others of Jesus that they too believe. This is what you do, because you have rivers of this living water flowing from your hearts. You know, this is what you do when you get up in the morning and come to church. You gospelize, because it tells your friends how important this place is to you. This is what you do when you write a check and put it in the offering plate to support this work here and throughout the world. This is what you do when you bring your children to be baptized. This is what you do when you teach Sunday school, or volunteer your time and talent to hold a position on the council. This is what you do when you ask that question in Bible Study you are embarrassed to ask, but do it anyway and find out everyone else had the same one. This is what you do as you come up to the rail and receive the forgiveness of sins in the body and blood of Christ. This is what you do when you visit a friend in the hospital and say a prayer for them. This is what you do, you prophesy, because in these things you gospelize, you speak the word of God and the Spirit of God is there at work bringing this water to their parched souls forgiving their sins and giving them new life in Christ, that they too would have the joy of His salvation restored unto them, that with angels in heaven we all rejoice.

Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. 

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