Saturday in the Fourth Week of Lent

Living Water vs. the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is not really a sea at all. It is more like a lake, a landlocked lake. It is in a region of little rain. Fresh water cannot run in nor is any water drained out. No form of life can live in it.

Is that the nature of our cherished religious traditions? It was for the Pharisees at the time of Christ’s ministry on the Earth. They were not open to any thinking that did not meet their ironclad criteria.

The Pharisees had sent the temple police to arrest Jesus:

Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest him?” The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” Then the Pharisees replied, “Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law—they are accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.”   (John 7:45–52)

If we hold on to the old wine so tightly we will never experience the new wine. We will miss out on the gift of God that brings new life and vitality. Jesus had gone up to Jerusalem with his disciples for the Feast of Tabernacles. Risking his life he spoke these words in the temple:

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.’” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.   (John 7:37–39)

Are we ready for living water? It is not a one time occurrence, but water that continually flows. Traditions attempt to damn it up or cut it off, but these waters are meant for those who believe in the words of Jesus.

For those who do not believe, this water must be stopped at all cost:

“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will no longer be remembered!”   (Jeremiah 11:19)

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Filed under Jesus, lectionary, Lent, Lenten daily readings, Lenten study, Revised Common Lectionary, Year A

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