O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.Psalms 63:1 (NRSV)
We have all been thirsty. We have all felt the physical dryness of our mouth, accompanied by the deep biological need for something to drink. It is a powerful desire and need. Our body needs water to function, and if we go without water for too long we can die. It is a source of life from which we must draw from regularly and daily.
It is not surprising then that water plays such an important symbolic role in God’s story. We see it in the quote above from Psalm 63 and throughout the Good News God revealed in Jesus in the gospel stories. In John’s Gospel for instance, the theme and important symbol of water weaves its way through, from the waters of baptism (Jn 1:33) , the transformation of the water into wine (Jn 2:9), Jesus at the well with the Samaritan Women (Jn 4:14), walking on water (Jn 6:19), and right up to Jesus’s crucifixion when the his side was pierced and water came out (Jn 19:34), water is a powerful symbol entwined with earthly life, death, and eternal life.
In the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well we read on the third Sunday of Lent, Jesus makes the distinction between the gifts of physical water and spiritual water. In that story in John chapter 4, verse 10, Jesus says to the woman, “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.”
In most of our lives today, living in Canada, we rarely find ourselves without easy access to water to drink that satisfies our physical body’s need for water, but the secular world we live in has certainly found its way to make a profit from selling us water. Water is metered service or bottled for sale. More and more the water we need for our physical life has an increasing monetary cost. Our world’s earthly powers are cunning and too often shameless when it comes to finding ways to gain earthly profit.
“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.”– John 4:13-14
Jesus says this because he wants the woman at the well, and us, to understand that God works differently than our earthly structures. We as Christians know that God loves all of God’s creation, and because of God’s love for us, God sent Jesus to point us back toward God’s self. Jesus reminds us that the “living water,” the spiritual water that sustains our soul, is not something that can be bought.
The “living water” that Jesus Christ brings to us and to our world is good news. Easter Day then and now is a celebration of the truth of that most amazing gift. No amount of money can buy it, but it is offered free to those who choose in the heart to receive it.
The living spring of life giving water that Christ gives to us as we live each day comes from our relationship with God through Christ is what quenches our deep desire for true connection and belonging that satisfies us in a way that is lasting and nurturing. It helps us to live our daily life in a way that not only gives us life individually, but gives each of us an abundance to share with those around us.
None of this would have authority in our lives today, if not for Christ’s Resurrection. Jesus’ teaching and example were proven in God’s demonstration that the Good news that God gave us in Jesus was stronger than all our world could bring against Christ, even death.
Our yearly Easter journey and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection is about making real of God’s promise of life over the power of death.
As we approach this year’s celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, God’s great example, the triumph of life and Christ’s victory of death, we are invited spiritually to drink the living water that will satisfy our deepest thirst for living in the new life of Christ. A living water which fills us with an abundance that overflows and pours out into the lives of those around us.
Our faithfulness in following Christ on this yearly spiritual journey brings us each to that source of spiritual source of living water and invites us to drink.
Our participation in the worship and celebration of our Christian faith along with our faith community is like the cup that helps us drink from that living water. I invite you to join with your community, in person or online, in the celebration of God’s life changing and life giving gift.
The Rev’d Canon Rob Park
P.S. Here is a link to a digital copy of our Easter Newsletter.