It’s the eve of the first River service – and I wanted to share with you some of the passages we’re going to dive into tomorrow afternoon. I think we’ll do them as discussions, but I’m open to seeing how things gel…
[As an aside, it’s a new experience, launching something without any sense of control about who will be there and how they’ll act, react and interact… (will they make a pact? what if we get hijacked? sorry…) I think it’s gotta be a good thing though – it feels like we are being swept along in God’s current a little more… of course, we’re always in God’s current, but feeling like we are is probably good for the soul]
We’re looking at John 7:37-39 (and the surrounding verses). If you can’t join us, perhaps you can meditate on these words, even as you read this blog in a spare moment between your many many responsibilities and to-do list items…
John 7: 37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
I am one of those people who are so suggestible when it comes to thirst. I read/listen to/watch a bit of Agatha Christie and other classic mysteries (Sayers, Marsh, Conan Doyle, that sort of thing) and every time they mention having a cup of tea in their civilised way, I’m suddenly just dying for one. For me, even just looking at this picture of a glass of water makes me want to go get one. So, when Jesus Christ says to me, that he is drink for my soul, I need to check myself – am I feeling soul thirsty? I should be. If Miss Marple having tea at the vicarage makes me put the kettle on, when I read John 7 I should have a deep longing to be near Jesus, to know him, to listen to him, to be nourished by him, to spend time with him, to “drink” from Him.
But do I? And if I don’t, why not?
Is it because I am so well watered by Christ that I simply hear these words in the midst of the act of drinking and say yes, I know, Lord, and I thank you that my soul is replete in you?
Or is it because I have filled my soul, my life, my mind and emotions up with so many other things that I can’t feel thirsty, have even lost the ability to thirst for what is true drink? Is my spiritual tummy full of dirty water with dodgy bits that are going to make me sick or fizzy bubbly with no nutritional value that will make me malnourished despite being fuller figured, that I just have no appetite for the pure living water of Christ?
Tomorrow we’re going to unpack those two pictures in some chatting time and see if we can ground the metaphors in reality… (I’d love you to join us if you’re able, or join in with a comment on fb or if you can be bothered signing in to wordpress)
We’re also going to think about how to get thirsty again.
The prophet Isaiah (Chapter 55) wrote these words from the Lord to us and I think they may give us some clues in getting our soul thirst back and having it quenched by Jesus.
1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
I’m still working it out and mulling it over, but I think there’s some stuff about the soul being designed to thirst for and be quenched by grace – free, unearned, unpaid for, undeservedly lavished upon, grace. When we try and earn our drinks from God, we start to burn our taste buds away, and fill up our stomach with rocks of pride, self-sufficiency, resentment, and hopelessness…
I think there’s some stuff about actually needing to come to God, to make a decision of the will, to turn aside from our routines, to set the soul in a Godward direction. Jesus only condition for being able to drink was that we thirst, but having fulfilled that condition, we must access his nourishment by coming to him.
I think there’s stuff about listening to God, hearing his words, as a key way we “drink”. And I think His trustworthiness in His promises is probably what will actually satisfy our souls, that is, the glass of water is a glass of promises kept in history and in the spiritual realms in the present… (Boy I hope God brings someone who can pray for me that I might understand what this really means).
We might have a look at Psalm 42 and Isaiah 58 too – depending on where God takes us by His Spirit in our conversations and prayers.
If you can come along, please do. It’s at 3pm, 5 Stiggant St, Warrandyte. There are muffins and cakes and slices already baked. There are kids toys ready to be played with. There are songs practised and prayers prayed. And the Bible is open and we need your heart there to share insights and wisdom and doubts and questions and honesty.
Drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org for any more info.