Saved by Water

The rain on the OBX has given us a one-day reprieve as we read again about the saving of Noah’s family from the flood. I haven’t seen the surface of my street for days and I am beginning to envy the passengers on the Ark. They didn’t get their feet wet everyday. But did you ever stop to think about the many times we are not only saved FROM water, but saved BY water?

Our United Methodist baptism liturgy has this beautiful section:

Eternal Father:
When nothing existed but chaos,
you swept across the dark waters
and brought forth light.
In the days of Noah
you saved those on the ark through water.
After the flood you set in the clouds a rainbow.
When you saw your people as slaves in Egypt,
you led them to freedom through the sea.
Their children you brought through the Jordan
to the land which you promised

In the fullness of time you sent Jesus,
nurtured in the water of a womb.
He was baptized by John and anointed by your Spirit.
He called his disciples
to share in the baptism of his death and resurrection
and to make disciples of all nations.

In our lectionary passage today, we see echos of “saved by water” in 1 Peter 3:

1 Peter 3 (Contemporary English Version)

Christ died once for our sins.
An innocent person died
    for those who are guilty.
Christ did this
    to bring you to God,
when his body
    was put to death
and his spirit
    was made alive.

19 Christ then preached to the spirits that were being kept in prison. 20 They had disobeyed God while Noah was building the boat, but God had been patient with them. Eight people went into that boat and were brought safely through the flood.

It is understood that the imprisoned spirits referred to are demons. Note that God’s patience extends even to them.

21 Those flood waters were like baptism that now saves you. But baptism is more than just washing your body. It means turning to God with a clear conscience, because Jesus Christ was raised from death. 22 Christ is now in heaven, where he sits at the right side of God. All angels, authorities, and powers are under his control.

Baptism is indeed more than just washing your body. It means your conscience is washed clean through the shed blood of the atonement. It means that your heart is made ready through the confession of sins and the clean slate offered to you by the Redeemer. It means you are welcomed home by the God of second chances.

Christ did all this to bring you to God. Today you are invited to wash again, turn to God, and bask in the waters of salvation and hope.

Come to the Water by Kathy Schumacher

Quenchable Thirst

Have you ever been thirsty? Like, really, really thirsty, where your mouth is sticking together for lack of hydration? If you’ve had surgery, you might remember that the first sensation upon coming out of anesthesia is thirst. Nurses are talking to you and giving you all kinds of instructions, and all you can think is “WHERE IS MY MOUNTAIN DEW, WOMAN??”

Our souls thirst in the same way. God created us with a “lack-mechanism” where we experience a pervasive feeling of lacking for something. C.S. Lewis once said that he created us with a hole in our hearts that only he can fill. God wants us to feel a need for him. This lack-mechanism prompts us to go out and find what we need to quench our soul-thirst.

Too often we try to quench it with worldly ”sody-pop.” The first bottle of empty sugar and fizz that we find is consumed in great quantities. Sometimes sody-pop comes in the form of alcohol or drugs. Sometimes it comes dressed in heels or the well-cut suit of someone we aren’t married to. Maybe it comes in the form of “retail therapy.” Often it comes through your screen as you greedily binge a full weekend away in a sugar coma of Netflix distraction. But it’s like your grandma told you…sody-pop is not good for you. It is too easy to get addicted to sugary fizz, and before you know it, months or years have passed since you had a good drink of real living water.

John 4 (The Message)

4-6 Jesus came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.

7-8 A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)

The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”

A couple of footnotes before we go on.

1. Jesus stopped his journey in a Samaritan village, a place where Jews such as himself were not welcome. He was in the middle of going somewhere else when this beautiful exchange happened.

2. It was noon. The village ladies all drew their water together in the early morning so that they could visit and gossip. This lady came alone at noon, indicating that she lived a life of too much sody-pop.

3. Jesus asked her to draw water for him with her bucket. Her bucket was unclean for a Jew. It would be like asking a coronavirus patient to share their glass of water with you.

13-14 Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”

15 The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!”

The water that Jesus offered her that day, and offers us as well, is the gushing artesian spring of endless life. It is the forgiveness, hope, reconciliation, and peace that comes from finally finding that thing that satisfies our lack-mechanism, and we are sated for once and for all.

The water he offers is effervescent. It bubbles. It jumps from the glass and tickles your nose. It is so filled with joy that you can’t stop drinking it until you are full enough to never want sody-pop again.

So drink. Drink again and again and again. Drink in Jesus until your thirst is quenched. His well is deep and endless, so fill up your bucket and LIVE.

Living Water by Kathy Schumacher