Jesus said [to The Samaritan woman], "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life."
I have a special fondness for the baptismal font that graces the entrance of our synod chapel at Lutheran Center on Bailey Road. I am immediately drawn to it primarily because of its extensive size. I am reminded of it especially this week, in light of the readings for this upcoming Third Sunday in Lent, which focus primarily on water.
from the Gospel according to John narrates the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. In the
Old Testament lesson
, the Israelites found themselves without water and they complained to Moses, their leader. God commands Moses to strike the rock at Horeb and water will come out of it.
Water sustains life. I read somewhere that you can go without food for about two weeks before your system begins to shut down. Water, however, is another matter. You can only last a few days without water in your system. I am instantly reminded of the water crisis that still plagues the people in Flint, Michigan.
here in Northeastern Ohio don't necessarily appreciate the tremendous value of water as much because, to us, it is so accessible.
Yet as necessary and as vital as water is to our system, God's grace is even more of a necessity. In these stories that we read for this upcoming Sunday, water is the symbol of God's sustaining grace and abundant mercy. It is in the waters of baptism that our sins are forgiven, we are renewed and become children of God.
In his Small Catechism, in the section on the Sacrament, Martin Luther writes:
How can water do such great things?
Clearly the water does not do it, but the word of God, which is with and alongside the water, and faith, which trusts this word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is plain water and not a baptism, but with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a grace-filled water of life and a "bath of the new birth in the Holy Spirit," as St. Paul says to Titus in chapter 3, "through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is sure."
[Source: Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 1165]
This Wednesday, March 15, I will be joining the good people of Reformation Lutheran Church, 34730 Lakeshore Blvd, Eastlake, for a mid-week Lenten Reflection and Prayer service beginning at 6:00 p.m. We will be focusing on the Apostle's Creed.
Sunday, I will be at New Covenant Lutheran Church, 1424 Hayden Avenue in East Cleveland, for their worship service which begins at 11:00 a.m.
May you be showered with the waters of God's grace, mercy and love this day, the remainder of this week and always!
+Bishop Abraham Allende