How thirsty are you? Do you ever thirst for the truth? Do you thirst for the peace that calms the troubled heart? Do you thirst for restoration and reconciliation with God and neighbor?
The theme for this next Sunday, the third Sunday of Lent, is reconciliation. We will read three scripture lessons that all tell stories of reconciliation and restoration. First, from Exodus, comes the story of thirsty people in the wilderness. The People called Israel are wandering in the desert as they make their way from Egypt to Canaan Land. There is little water in the dry land they are crossing. They are thirsty and begin to call out to Moses to give them water. Moses, in turn, calls out to God who tells him to strike a rock and water will gush out of it and sure enough it does, as Moses does what God commands him to do. Thirsty people drink of fresh cool water gushing out from beneath a rock, a hidden spring that needed to be tapped.
Then, John's Gospel tells the familiar story of the Samaritan woman at the well whom Jesus encounters and asks for a drink of water from her. She is a troubled woman and Jesus senses her distress, since she is at the well at noon rather than early in the morning when most women came to the well to avoid the midday heat. Her conversation with Jesus makes her believe he is a prophet and she calls the townspeople to come and see this remarkable man. Jesus gives her the "living water" she seeks as she is restored to relationship with her community and to the God she seeks to know.
Paul addresses the church at Rome in chapter 5 of his epistle to them and talks about being justified and reconciled to God through the love of Jesus Christ, who gave himself for all humanity. Jesus' actions have made all justified to God and brought about full restoration of the brokenness of human beings, both to God and one another. The live and actions of Jesus have brought those who seek restoration into full and right relationship.
Living water is what Jesus offered to the Samaritan woman, the same living water that Paul offers to the early church at Rome. The living water could only come through the Spirit of God working in Christ and evident in the lives of Early Christians who found a new way of living after Pentecost. Living water is what modern day persons need also, water that stimulates the human spirit and revives the refreshes the soul.
The people of Israel who were crossing the barren wilderness after they left Egypt and were searching for a home needed real physical water to quench their dry throats and bring them relief so they could continue their journey. God showed his love and compassion for them as he supplied their needs. The physical water represented the love of God to them because God heard their cries and responded to their need.
God hears our cries also and answers our prayers, perhaps not always in the way we anticipate but in ways that are for our own good and welfare. God's love is made known to us through the actions of others who come to our rescue when we need to hear words and see love demonstrated in tangible ways. We find refreshing streams of water when we need them as we continue to seek God in our daily lives and to gather with God's People regularly to gain spiritual strength and renewal.
How thirsty are you? How much do you need to know God's presence in your life? Jesus said, "Come unto me, all you who are heavily laden and I will give you rest." The waters of restoration and reconciliation are always flowing. One simply has to come to the waters and receive what God offers to find relief.