Water: Survival or Salvation?

Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but 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 4:6-15)

We just heard about the miracle of water.

Again and again throughout the Bible, it’s water that saves and transforms God’s people.

    Creation begins when the world was separated by God into oceans and dry land.

    The wickedness of the people was washed away by flood waters.

    Hebrew slaves escape through the Red Sea, and that same water crashed down and destroyed Pharaoh’s pursuing army.

    Moses struck a rock and brought forth water to quench the people’s thirst and save their lives in their wanderings.

    John the Baptist baptized with water to open the eyes and hearts of the people.

    Blind men and lepers were healed when they faithfully followed Jesus’ instructions to wash their ills away.

    Jesus offers the gift of living water that will bring eternal life to all who accept the drink.

Science tells us that our bodies are over 98% water. We know that human beings can live weeks without food, but we can only survive for a few days without water. We know that drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day will keep our bodies hydrated, healthy, and fit.

But the cells of our bodies aren’t the only parts of us that are parched. Even drier is the state of our souls. Instead of pouring in ‘living water’ to cure our dehydration, often however, we reach for a lot of spiritual junk food. But just as there is no substitute for pure, life-giving water for our body, so spiritually there is no substitute for the ‘living water’ offered by Jesus.

Living water satisfies completely, satisfies forever, and satisfies everyone.

Every one of us has a thirst; we have got to drink water. Otherwise we become dehydrated. Dehydration results in delirium, unconsciousness, and in extreme cases death.

The body does some things naturally, and being thirsty is one of those things that happens. But not only does the body crave water, the soul also yearns for the ‘living water’. If the spiritual thirst is not satisfied we can begin to get symptoms of spiritual dehydration.

Not knowing the God that gives real living water leads people to spiritual dehydration! As a person denies himself the living waters of God, hope is lost.

Jesus can offer the cup of ‘living water’, but each and every one of us must decide for ourselves whether or not to drink it.

So, what is this ‘living water’ Jesus offers – what does He have to give us that will quench our thirst forever and give us Eternal Life? It is freedom from fear – from doubt. It is the assurance that we all matter, that we are all part of God and God’s love – now and forever. It is the assurance that the life with its troubles and pains, disappointments and evil. This life is not all there is – that we go from here to a place of abundant love, security, acceptance and peace – and that we will all go, all be there

Jesus’ living water – if we drink it deeply and fully, ends our thirst for home, for belonging, for answers and assures us that He goes to prepare a place for us. That His death shows us that beyond life’s immense suffering is resurrection and eternal peace and love.

And we can must be a source for the entire world to drink of until they can receive their own “well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Our lives can show the peace of joy of ‘living water’.

How, can we guard against spiritual dehydration?

We must return to Jesus , ask for His spirit to live fully in us, and taste the ‘living water” he offers all who believe in him.

Help me, O Lord, to drink the living water, so that I may never again be thirsty. Amen.
Delivered at In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, OH, 23 March 2014

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