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A New Year’s Message for 2022

Our reading is from the Gospel of John, chapter 7, verses 37-39.

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

(John 7:37-39)

The festival was the Feast of Tabernacles. Impressive in many aspects, it was a continual remembrance of the journey in wilderness when the Jews lived in tents (tabernacles), when they drank from the rock, when they ate the manna fallen from above.

On the last day of this Feast, Jesus stands up. It is a very important moment. He cries out, so to be heard and seen beyond all rituals, all symbols. The invitation is for everyone: search yourself, are you thirsty? Then come to Him. Don’t go to other sources as that will only perpetuate your thirst, quenching it for now, coming more forceful later.

The one coming to Jesus, that is, believing in Him, will see the Scriptures fulfilled. Out of his heart (more like a belly, like the inner man) there will be flowing rivers of living water.

How is that possible?

John explains, reflecting back — Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit who, when being given, filled the lives of recipients, and in turn made them a blessing to others. One has just to read the book of Acts and see that fulfilment.

Even before the Pentecost, if one just goes with Jesus to the well in Samaria (John chapter 4), will see the same dialogue there. A woman is thirsty (v. 7). Jesus asks for drink as an opening dialogue. Surprised, the woman inquires for his real reasons. He indicates (v. 10) that His offer is much superior, that is, “living water” (as in our introductory texts). 

To an even more surprised woman, Jesus acknowledges the insufficiency of earthly waters (v. 13). Verse 14 is the key:

“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

(John 4:14)

It is sufficiency indeed. Not only a need satisfied, but an overflowing for that person, and then for those around. A sufficient grace, mercy, blessing (all) for this life and the everlasting.

The woman wants more, she is interested in the offer Jesus makes, but finds it difficult to pass beyond some religious obstacles (sects, rituals, religions, places). Jesus reveals to her that a true worshipper is one being led by the Spirit in the truth (vs. 23-24). And then reveals himself to her as the Messiah (v. 26).

The woman simply leaves her water pot right there (v. 28). No more thirst! And runs to the village. 

Later on, out of her own experience, she floods others with the good news of the Savior of the world. Verse 39: “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified.” Few days later, their own testimony was clear, a first hand experience: “And many more believed because of His own word.” (v. 41) 

Then they said to the woman,

“Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

(John 4:42)

Brother and sister, no matter what thirst brings you to that point where you will meet Jesus, know that He is always ready to transform your life. Are you alone, or widow, or single? Are you coming after many failed relationships? Are you in a wrong one right now? Are you bankrupt, burdened with debts, unable to make it from one week or one month to another? What about a new year?

Are you thirsty?

Jesus says (back to John 7),

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

It is the last day of… our Tabernacles! It is the last year of a Dublin West’s journey in a wilderness: No more tents! We have a house. It is God’s house. Let it become a spring of waters for the thirsty ones, in our midst or beyond.

From 2022 there is this invitation that stays: Are you thirsty? Come to Him.

Then you will be as the Samaritan woman, bringing others to the spring of life. And later on they will testify of themselves, and they will witness to others that they have heard Him, the one who is “indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

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