Dig The Well Before You Get Thirsty
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MAY 23, 2021
On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed,“Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. As Scripture says: Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.”
He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive.There was, of course, no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
You Have The Living Water
[music] It's all about water. Water is the difference between life and death. Just imagine what it was like to live in Israel in biblical times, really not that different from today. Today in Israel, cities are located people settle and transportation centers are based on where there's water. When you live where there's little or no water, it becomes the most important part of your life. And in a land where the soil is cracked and parched, possession of water is rare and valuable because water gives life. It's the difference between life and death. So it's no surprise that part of the Jewish Festival of the Booth focused on water and that's the focus and the setting for the gospel reading today. So in that Jewish festival, for seven days each morning, the priest will lead a procession from the temple to the fountain of Gamon on the southeastern side of Temple Hill. And the priest filled his golden pitcher with water and the choir would sing those words from Isaiah, "With joy, you will draw water from the wells of salvation." Then the procession would go up to the temple through the Water Gate and the people would sing Psalm 118, "Save us, O Lord. We beseech you. Lord, we beseech you, give us success."
And then the priest would go up to the altar and he would pour out the water into a silver funnel that flowed into the ground. And on the seventh day, the climax of the Festival of the Booths, he would parade around the altar seven times and that special moment came when he would pour that water out. It's at that very moment that Jesus proclaims in the gospel today for everyone to hear, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and let the one who believes in me drink." And as the Scripture says, "Out of the believers' heart shall flow rivers of living water." The people have been praying for water and the answer comes in the most unexpected way. Right in front of them, in their presence stands the river of living water; Jesus himself. The giver and source of the river of life. Jesus here is talking about the Holy Spirit or as he says, the living water. A believer's heart full of water, living water. He says his people are different. His people, you and I, we're wet from the inside out. You have the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will feed your soul.
Water is not only the difference between life and death, water brings awesome power. Think about dams. Think about Hoover Dam and all the power generated from that water. In the same way, the power of the Holy Spirit will fuel your life. It'll drive your life. And the spirit shows up in so many ways but he always brings power. The Holy Spirit springs up from inside you and gives you life and power from God himself. The Holy Spirit will show up in your life in surprising in remarkable ways. Why? Because you're wet from the inside out. Alice, she went to work. She's a teacher in a school full of teachers. She taught as she always did and then for lunch, she sat down at the table of teachers and some of the teachers began to gossip maliciously about one of their own, saying really unnecessary things. And the sense came over Alice and she remembered the damage done in her own life by people who had dealt in rumors and innuendo. So Alice mustered up every ounce of courage that she had within her, and she got it from the table and she said, "I just can't participate in this conversation." You can call that what you want. You can call it a spirit of courage. I call it being wet from the inside out. Alice is full of living water.
Or maybe it's like Daniel. I met Daniel when our team of about 30 people were on a mission trip to Costa Rica a few years ago. We were helping to build a school and church and we would have mass and Bible study together and we would encourage believers and lead soccer camps and young people turned out to see what was taking place during the day, we'd helped paint and build the outside walls of the facility in concrete. I had the very prestigious job of being the guy that would take the wheelbarrow from the little cement mixer and taking that wheelbarrow across full of cement to wherever it was needed, back and forth, back and forth, all day long in the blazing sun. Each day I was met at the site, at the worksite by a fellow named Daniel, a many so hearty, we nicknamed him El Toro, The Bull. He was tireless. In the blazing sun, he never stopped carrying concrete, running wheelbarrows, building walls. By 2 o'clock each day, our team and I, we were exhausted. And so when I would go to the hotel or the motel for shower and rest and then leave at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, Daniel was just starting. He went to work. He went to a rice processing facility, which was his job to carry 50-pound sacks of rice for another eight hours. That man worked circles around me, El Toro, The Bull, and his face, never deviated from an expression of pure joy.
On Sunday nights, we'd worship and pray together, and Daniel was talking and smiling and looking around at people with so much brightness in his eyes I thought, "This is almost not normal." As I got to know him throughout the week, I discovered Daniel was really special. He was so full of the Holy Spirit, a Holy Spirit holiness that almost made me uncomfortable. He took off work early the last night that we were there to worship with us one last time and as we prayed, he came over to me and laid his hands on me, and through a translator, he prayed for me. Through his hands, I could feel physically the flowing of the Holy Spirit. And he looked me in the eye as I boarded the bus for the last time and he said, "Allen, always remember the poor." Here was a man who understood the Holy Spirit more deeply than I ever could possibly imagine. Now, I got to warn you, the Holy Spirit may cause you to do some surprising deeds and say some remarkable things. And when someone asks you what made you do it, you just say, "I'm wet from the inside out." Because you have the living water. The Holy Spirit lives within you and that means life. That means power. [music]
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