Aloha Friday Message – March 21, 2014 Water for the Third Friday of Lent

1412AFC032114 – Third Friday of Lent and Water

Read it online here, please.

Isaiah 55:1 – Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

John 4:13-14 – 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.”

Today we continue looking into passages from the Prophet Isaiah. There are hundreds of prophetic promises in the poetry used convey the message in the book of the Bible. These two passages remind me of a tune called Jesus Met the Woman at the Well. I used to play it on my 12-string. It was written by Peter Yarrow, Milton Okun, and Mary Travers. Those names are familiar to some of us “older” folks who remember Peter, Paul, and Mary singing this tune. Peter Yarrow is perhaps best known for Puff the Magic Dragon. He wrote a lot of tunes and lyrics that were strong statements about Peace, an end to unjust wars (Viet Nam at the time), and some of them are still popular:  Day is Done, The Cruel War, Weave me the Sunshine, and Oh Rock my Soul. It’s beginning divides the audience into the “In Group” and the “Out Group.” And, in my memory anyway, there is a “Inner Group” that gets to sing a descant in this arrangement. I think from Peter, Paul, and Mary – and a few others along the way in those days like Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan – we learned that it was OK to believe in Peace enough to speak out for it and work openly for it and even die willingly for it. We were thirsty for Peace and many of us eventually learned that the Peace we were seeking was the Peace of Righteousness; as Jesus says in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

Jacob'sWell

Today we know that the Spiritual Thirst Isaiah spoke of and to which Jesus responded by saying he could give a spring of water gushing up to eternal life is the Holy Spirit. The image occurs more than once in Jesus’ words, as in John 7:37 where we read 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, 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.'” There are a number of different ideas about which Old Testament Jesus referred to (See Cross References here), and the one among those that speaks most to me is Isaiah 44:3For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. In the poetically-phrased prophecies of Isaiah, I think this probably resonated with Israel in exile very strongly. It is a message of hope – water for the People dying of thirst in the desert. As I look around the world today, I see there is still a lot of desert surrounding God’s People; not just the People called Israel, but all the people who are called by God in every way that he calls them. He calls them and us to quench their thirst and hunger for righteousness – justice. And he even tells everyone who will listen where to find that which quenches this thirst and satisfies this hunger, which gives us rest and solace in the desert: My soul rests in God alone. My salvation is from him. (Psalm 62:1)

In this desert we have an oasis of Living Water. Once we drink from it, it flows like an endless river from within us. That Living Water is the Holy Spirit. We need to Let the River Flow! Sometimes when I listen to this song on the way home in my truck, I crank it way up and sing at the top of my voice – and I feel that River. Even now, when there is chaos in the deserts of our lives, when the oppressive heat of worldly materialism presses us down, we know – or certainly should know – that our Salvation is in that Water promised to the Woman at the Well. She was astounded that Jesus would even speak to her. Do you sometime feel that way, too? I do. She was also astounded that Jesus knew everything about her – everything. And still he chose to speak to her. He knows everything about me, too; and about you; and about all of us traipsing through the desert. And still, he stops to speak to me, to you, to us and to offer us living water. He almost always starts it off with something simple, as he did in this passage from John, by asking us to do something for him – directly or for “the least of these, by brethren.” He asked the woman to give him a drink. Her retort was based on the long-standing enmity between Jews and Samaritans, but Jesus turned her response into an opportunity leading to salvation. You know, in that passage, it never says that Jesus got that drink of water! In fact, it says the woman left her water-jug at the well (John 4:28) and ran into the village to call others to come and meet the Prophet who “told her everything she had done.”

Our encounters with Jesus are often startling, astounding, and hopefully humbling, too. He truly is the Gift that keeps on Giving. It’s not just an oasis, it’s an ocean! The love of God is like the ocean, you can see its beginnings but not its end. The Grace of God is the ocean of His Love. He is the source of the Ocean of Grace. When you acknowledge Him, it is as if you are submersed in a vast ocean being fed by a fountain of purest water. You are standing in that fountain in the center of the center of the Crystal Sea drinking from a crystal cup of the Endless Grace and Love, and this is freely given to every human soul alive today in Heaven and on Earth.

Beloved, come to the waters! There is more than enough for everyone because the Waters of Righteousness are the Righteousness of God. (Amos 5:24 But let justice roll on like rivers, and righteousness like a mighty stream.) Let us hear and obey what God as conveyed to us in the words of his prophet Isaiah “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18) In this Bible book, restoration is couched in terms of flowing water and destruction is imaged as trees cut down. Can’t come out of the desert? I know; it’s hard to do. Don’t want to die in the desert? Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price! It won’t cost you anything in this World except your willingness to open your life to Living Water that comes not from the well.

I want to close with one more story from the past. This comes from a Bible Study Broadcast in the Key Life Ministry Series and I originally heard it over the air from Dr. Steve Brown. It was at least 20 years ago, but when I asked Steve to send it to me, this is what came in the email:
Once there was a fish who lived in the great ocean and, because the water was transparent and always conveniently got out of the way of his nose when moved along, he didn’t know he was in the ocean. Well, one day the fish did a very dangerous thing. He began to think: “Surely I am a most remarkable being since I can move around like this in the middle of empty space.” Then the fish became confused because of thinking about moving and swimming, and he suddenly had an anxiety attack and thought he had forgotten how to move about.

At that moment he looked down and saw the yawning chasm of the ocean depths, and he was terrified that he would drop. Then he thought: “If I could catch hold of my tail in my mouth, I could hold myself up.” and so he curled himself up and snapped at his tail. Unfortunately, his spine was not quite supple enough so he missed. As he went on trying to catch hold of his tail, the yawning black abyss below became ever more terrible, and he was brought to the edge of a total nervous breakdown. The fish was about to give up when the ocean, which had been watching with mixed feelings of pity and amusement, said, “What are you doing?”

“Oh,” said the fish, “I’m terrified of falling into the deep dark abyss, and I’m trying to catch hold of my tail in my mouth to hold myself up.”

So the ocean said, “Well, you’ve been trying that for a long time now, and still you have not fallen down. How come?”

“Oh, of course, I haven’t fallen down yet,” said the fish, “because … Well, because I’m swimming!

“Well,” came the reply, “I am the Great Ocean where you swim, and I have given all of myself to you in which to swim, and I support you all the time you swim, but here you are, instead of exploring the length, breath, depth and height of my expanse, you have been wasting your time pursuing you own end.”

From then on, the fish put his own end behind him where it belonged … And set out to explore the ocean. (Deep and heartfelt thanks to Dr. Steve Brown for originally sharing this with me so long ago!)

Beloved, we are in the desert, but we are not deserted. We have the oasis of a spring of water gushing up to eternal life. There is so much of it that we can literally swim in it!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved

chick

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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