John 4:7-42John 19:28
Water. Mayim, in Hebrew: the waters of creation when the Spirit breathed on the face of the deep. For forty days and forty nights, water fell from the skies, flooding the whole earth. The infant Moses found safety floating on the waters of the Nile. And when he led the people out of Egypt, it was the waters of the Red Sea that parted. In the wilderness, it miraculously sprang from rocks. The Psalmist spoke of the deer longing for water as the soul longs for God. And in captivity in Babylon, the people sat by the waters and wept tears of grief.
Water. Hydor in Greek: the baptismal waters of the Jordan River. As Christ began his ministry, at Cana, he changed the water into wine. On the Sea of Galilee, Christ found his first disciples. He calmed the storm and walked on the face of the water. On the night he was betrayed, he washed the disciples’ feet. And when he was crucified, as the soldier pierced his side, blood and water flowed to the ground together.
Water. So simple: a mere two Hs and an O. So necessary: without it, we cannot live. And yet, so fearsomely powerful: the floods of Katrina, the Asian tsunami. In our Scriptures, it is a sign of judgment and sadness, a cause of suffering and fear. It is also a symbol of plenty and purity, a reminder of sustenance and salvation, a source of blessing and celebration.
Tonight, we remember that Christ did indeed thirst from the cross. We also note that, in his life, ministry, crucifixion, and death, he came to quench our thirst for the living water of God’s reconciling love. Tonight, it is this living water that infuses all that we do. The water of this font claims and names us as God’s precious children. The water of foot washing reminds us that Christ came not to be served, but to serve. And the sustenance we receive at this table satisfies our hunger for relationship and our thirst for healing.