23 March 2014

Living Water from the Wellspring of Christ

He knows her, as He knows the hearts and minds of all people.  He knows her, before she has spoken a single word, as He has known her from before the foundation of the world in His Love.

Oh, yes, He knows her sin, her sordid past, her scandalous life.  He knows her serial adultery and present fornication, that she is living in sin with a man who is not her husband.  He knows, too, that she is thirsty, not only for water, but for love, for acceptance and companionship, for meaning and purpose in her life, for self-worth and value.  He knows that she won’t find it on her own.

But He is the Gift of God, who has come down from the Father in heaven to save sinners like her: To rescue them from sin and death; to pour out the living water of the Holy Spirit generously upon them, into their hearts and minds, and into their flesh and bones, to give them eternal life.

He also is thirsty; and hungry, too.  Not merely for the food and drink that perish, though His body on earth needs both, no less than yours.  But He hungers and thirsts for the will of His Father, to seek and to save the lost to the glory of His holy Name, to become the true worshipers of God.

Therefore, as He has known this Samaritan woman all along, so does He also come to wait for her, to meet her at the well, to give her what she needs and what she’s looking for without knowing it.

In love for her, with tender mercy and compassion, He catechizes her with the Wisdom of God.  He leads her by His Word, from guilt and shame, from doubt and fear — first of all to curiosity and interest — to the dawning of some new hope within her troubled heart, which has for so long ached with disappointments — finally to repentance, and to faith in the One who is speaking to her.

He declares to her all things.  Not only all the things that she has been doing wrong, but the things concerning Himself; that she might learn to know Him, and the power of His Resurrection, and the fellowship of His Cross and Passion; that, being conformed to His death, by the Gift of His Spirit, she might also attain to the resurrection of her body and the life everlasting of her body and soul.

He quenches her thirst with the free gift of His Word and Spirit; and, in doing so, He leads her and He brings her to the worship of the Father in the Spirit and the Truth, for which she was created.

He does the same for you.  For He is the Gift of God.  Ask of Him, and He will quench your thirst, your burning, desperate thirst for something more than what you’ve got, for something to satisfy your aching, empty heart.  Indeed, He pours out the Love of God into your heart, and fills you up with the Living Waters of His Spirit, which freely flow in you, and well up as a fountain in you, unto eternal life, to the worship of the Father in the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What is it that you’ve been chasing after and trying to find, instead of this Gift of God in Christ?  What are you trying to do and achieve and to get for yourself?  And whose well do you run to, in the heat of the day, in order to fill up your bucket?  How many men have you had?  Or how many women?  Or how do you compete and keep the score?  What is it that you worship with your body and your soul, with the investment of your heart and the exercise of all your strength and spirit?

The Lord knows your heart and mind, your thoughts and words and actions.  There are no secrets hidden from Him.  He knows your sin, and all that you have ever done or failed to do.  He knows your guilt and shame, your doubts and fears, your ignorance and confusion.  He knows your frailty and weaknesses.  He knows that you have tried to quench your thirst with all the wrong liquids.

And even knowing all of that, He has come to you in mercy and compassion, in tenderness and loving care, in order to bestow the Gift of His Spirit upon you, and to bring you to the Father in Himself, in perfect peace and genuine hope and real joy, which shall remain and not be used up.

Thus it is, that, even in the desert, He pours out Living Waters to quench your thirst, to cleanse you and refresh you, both inside and out, in body and soul; to shatter your rocks and wear down your mountains, but also to float your boat on the ocean waves, and to preserve your life in the rapids.  Tribulation, therefore, does not cause your shipwreck, but brings forth perseverance, and builds up your faith, hope, and love in Christ Jesus, who shall never let you down or disappoint you.

Behold, then, how He does so: How it is that your Hope in Him is not disappointed, and that you are not put to shame and disgrace, but are vindicated and exalted in this dear Lord, Jesus Christ.

He is the Rock on the Mountain of God; and He is the One who is struck by the Staff of Moses, by the command and judgment of the Law of the Lord.  So it is, that, from His sacrificed Body flow the cleansing rivers of the water and the blood, and times of refreshment in His Atonement.

For by His Cross and Passion, at about the Sixth Hour, He has grown weary and thirsted, in order to strengthen and preserve you in the one true faith, and so to provide you with His Sabbath Rest.

In the completion of His good work, He gives to you His Holy Spirit through His Word of Holy Absolution, the free and full forgiveness of all your sins — those you know and regret, and those you don’t even realize or remember — He removes them all, and He remembers them no more.

As He is thus lifted up in death upon the Cross for your salvation, and as He thus returns to the Father in His Resurrection and Ascension, so does His own Holy Body become the true Temple of God.  The Mountain of God, henceforth, is wherever He is, with His preaching and catechesis, His Body given and His Blood poured out, from Jerusalem to Samaria and the ends of the earth.

Here, friends, is the Gift of God for you: Living Water from the Rock of Ages, the Spirit of the Father in the Word and Sacrament of Christ, His Son.  Here, by His grace, through faith in Him, you worship the Father in the Spirit and the Truth.  Such is your life and your salvation evermore.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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