Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bethany Bullet - March 29, 2011

Something OLD and something NEW confronts us in worship weekly. During the season of Lent we will explore how these two texts intersect. (Open your Bibles or click on the scripture reading to link to the text.)


Water is life in the middle of the desert or in the heat of the day. In both the desert of sin (Exodus 17) and on the sands of Samaria (John 4) we find folk who thirst and also believe that they are stranded.

The Hebrews sought a drink because they were parched. The Samaritan woman headed to the well because it’s her chore. Jesus asked for a drink so that He could “pour out” on the woman at the well the LIVING DRINK (who has plenty of water in her bucket but at the same time is wilting within). God has poured this before; it flowed from Him on those in the Exodus account.

The Hebrews on that trip began to doubt what God had said, “A good land flowing with milk and honey? We were better off in Egypt. Why bring us out here to die.” The Samaritan on the other hand disregards what God has said, “You all say the best place to meet with God is in Jerusalem, but our people say this mountain is better.” Both are looking for a detour. The first pilgrims want to return to slavery in Egypt. She wants to distract the Lord because she has returned to the jail of juggling men over and over again. Her lifestyle itself is a prison. Both those of OLD and she of NEW are living a lie and desperate for LIFE.

So in the OLD… God instructs Moses to strike the rock and water flows out for all to quench their thirst. For a time that is, they will get thirsty again. Moses will return to this trick – but that is a different story. For now, Moses will strike the rock, God will provide the flood and the people will get their fill.

Then in the NEW, it will be God’s turn. Previously He instructed Moses to do the striking this time God Himself will strike The Rock, Jesus Christ. It may be the hands of the temple guard striking across The Rock’s face; it may be the strikes of the hammer by Pilate’s men pinning The Rock to the tree – but make no mistake about it the stroke which lands the hardest is the Father’s. Hear the hymnist, “Tell me, all who hear him groaning was there ever grief like this? Friends through fear his cause disowning, foes insulting his distress; many hands were raised to wound him none would intervene to save; but the deepest stroke that pierced him was the stroke that justice gave.”

No sooner had the blow landed when LIVING WATER flows to saturate all. NEVER shall they thirst again. In Christ, all that stands between you and God has been washed away. All that holds you in your own prison – be it slavery to sensuality, Sinicism, or success – has been washed away and swept out into a Sea of Grace.

-->Slavery to sensuality – even though in our free land we can put up billboard’s advertising a convention for it; it doesn’t mean it can’t cost you your freedom.

-->Slavery to Sinicism – even though it is funny to watch Seinfeld master the art of it; it doesn’t mean that it can’t master you, your opinions, views, and reactions.

-->Slavery to success – even though the boss will encourage it, the bottom line will enjoy it, and the shareholders will demand it; it doesn’t mean that you can’t be enslaved by it.

Each of us has our own prison cell – the fetters of fear, futures, or maybe fears of the future. The prison bars we return to over and over again – the bonds of bigotry, bellyaching, and blabbering about ourselves, or our own desires & disappointments as well as desires & disappointments of others.

Such prisons, such bars, and such bonds are broken. Such fetters are loosed only by God. He is the Master escape artist, able Himself to burst out of the prison of death. He has come to set us free – the tool of His craft is water – LIVING WATER. LIVING WATER is flowing. For Jesus Christ, The Rock and LIVING WATER was poured out on you in Baptism. It is poured out on you anew in His word even as you read these words.

God comes to saturate us with LIVING WATER that He might liberate us from all that holds us captive: sin, Satan, and self alike. For now too, as in days of OLD, in this NEW day, God would fill us with LIVING WATER, that He might spill us on a thirsty world.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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