The Water of Life

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3rd Sunday in Lent

The Water of Life

Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from God our Father and His only Son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

            If you have been to the store lately, you may have found a few items missing from the shelves. I was in Walmart yesterday and all the shelves in the toilet paper / Kleenex aisle were empty. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes were in low supply as well.

            People are anxious and fearful about the world wide pandemic of the COVID-19 Corona virus. So fearful that hording certain items has become a sign of security. Another major item that is being stockpiled is bottled water. It is in times like these when one finds what is most important in one’s life.

            In situations of great distress, the thinking process of an individual may change from the everyday process. One type of thinking is that of base survival; to do anything at the cost of anyone to gain security and safety for yourself. Another is to work together with others to ensure the life of the community as a whole overcomes the catastrophe.

            In this instance we are cautioned to isolate ourselves in order to curb the spread of the virus as well as protect ourselves and our loved ones from sickness. So how can we, as good Christians, help our neighbor in this time of need?

            Just as God commands us to have dominion over the earth, He also commands that we be good stewards of His creation. In the same respect, He commands us to care for our fellow human beings, yet we are also to not abuse ourselves.

            This means that we can continue to help our brothers and sisters in God’s good creation while making sure we do not foolishly put ourselves into harm’s way. If you are sick or highly susceptible to illness, then, by all means, secure your safety before you help your neighbor. But do not give up your trust in the Lord to keep you safe and alive.

            Remember that we have the body of Christ and the Holy Spirit in our midst and we will not be forsaken. Storms may come and destroy that which we have worked for our livelihood; whether it be homes, crops, cattle or community. Yes, even disease and sickness may enter into our lives yet we are to put our trust in our Savior whom through all things were made.

        We are God’s people and He takes care of the faithful. Moses had such an experience with the Israelites in the great desert interestingly enough called the Sin wilderness. The people were complaining as they were wont to do. They had previously demanded bread for their bellies and God provided manna from heaven. They had demanded meat and God provided them quail snared in the bushes. Now they demanded water and once again, God provided water from a rock.

        I suppose this is not uncommon for God to hear from His people – the complaining, I mean. We too wander about in our desert of Sin. We complain to the good Lord in heaven about how we don’t have enough bread, or money, or power. Yet even with our complaining, God still provides for us.

        Why does God provide for us? Because he loves us. His love is greater than all the world. He loves us so much that he sent his only begotten son into the flesh to be our salvation. He sent Jesus Christ as the life-giving water… the eternal life giving water. Jesus is the rock of our salvation, the rock from which pure cleansing water of life saves us from our sin.

        When Jesus was crucified and the only truly innocent man, it was to take us out of our wilderness of sin. When Christ raised himself from the tomb that first Easter Sunday, we were freed from our fruitless wandering in our great sin.

        Now we have the life-giving water of which Jesus spoke to that Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well so long ago. “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever.” [John 4.14a]

        Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from dying of thirst in our sin. His command to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, is that life-giving water. For it is through our baptism that we are born from above. We die to sin and are raised again in righteousness.

        It is easy to become anxious and afraid when all around you is sickness and death. It is easy to think only of yourself when it seems everyone is asking for help. Yet understand that Christ has already redeemed you as his child. He holds you in his hand and no one can snatch you from his hand. Do not fear that which can kill the body but not the soul. And by all means, help your neighbor by bringing them the Word and water of life.

        That is right, we are responsible for our neighbor’s death in their sin. We have the water like a spring welling up to eternal life, yet we are miserly with it. We do not want to share. Maybe we fear we will die of thirst if we give up any of our own water. But this is not the case for more than one reason.

        Firstly, the water we have been given is not ours to horde, this water came from God and we are commanded by him to give it to everyone. Secondly, this water of Christ’s salvation has no end. The well that is our Savior will not run dry. No matter how many people draw water from this well nor the size of the bucket they use, will they ever overcome the fountain of life.

        Are we hording the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ? Are we afraid those who are sick might infect us with their sin and so we stay away? Do we hide our water from those who need it most? Do we keep it to ourselves with the false belief that it will run out? Or do we use that faith instilled in us by our baptism so that others can refresh themselves in the water of the Spirit?

        I say to you that Jesus Christ did not sacrifice himself for us so that we can horde eternal life. Quite the contrary! He even demands that we bring this water of life to all nations. We have all been saved by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Hallelujah and Amen, but that is not the end of His work on earth.

        Jesus Christ spoke of the trials and tribulations we as his disciples would endure. All of this is the work of our adversary Satan. He knows his time is short. He knows the victory belongs to Jesus Christ. He knows that all he can do is strike blindly with every arrow in his arsenal in hopes one may fall into temptation.

        Do not fall into temptation. Do not fall into the false fear and anxiety created by the Evil One. He is the Lord of Lies after all. He wants you to think that the forces of this world could somehow take you from our Savior’s grasp.

        We now take up the cross and follow Him. We put on the full armor of God and take the truth to those dying in their sin. We give the water of eternal life to all we meet. We do this, not through our love but through the love of God. For His love is deeper than the sea and higher than tallest mountain. It is, infinite.

        By the love of God, we proclaim the salvation by the Lamb of God, the very Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. For the Son of God did not come into the world to condemn it but to save it. Let us all pray for that love of God to be our witness to all people.