H2O (part 8 of 8)

2016 05-May (12)

H2O

The Gospel of John has more symbolism than the other Gospels combined. John forcefully uses bread, light, and water – all elements necessary for human life – to teach us that Christ alone is at the core of our being. Without food, water, and light, then we are without Christ.

 

In several consecutive chapters of John, the use of water is powerful. The following paragraphs can be used a devotional meditations during Advent or, as illustrated, during Lent. They can be used to bookend a week of meditations with the first and last used as sermon material and the middle ones as material to be read during the week.

 

John 19:28-30 

Good Friday

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

  • Jesus is hanging on the cross. He has been tortured and mocked. He has not slept in days. His male friends have deserted him. He is weak from lack of food and water.
  • The first seven chapters of John have instances of God using water to illustrate his power, love, and desire to be with us. Jesus offered living water to all who would believe. And now, at the end of his life, Jesus himself needs water.
  • “I am thirsty.” Jesus wants the living water of God because he is feeling abandoned by God. Jesus is feeling the fear that he cautioned his disciples about. Jesus is disconnected from God like never before. Jesus wants – no, Jesus needs God’s water. But he only gets wine-vinegar which burns but does not satisfy.
  • When have you felt abandoned by God? What did you do? How did you go about getting God’s living water back in your life? (or have you?) What would cause you to feel distant from God in the future? What have you done when one or more of your friends has been in a situation where the friend blamed God?

 

Water is essential to our lives. Living water is essential to our souls.

 

Lead On!

Steve

H2O (part 7 of 8)

2016 04-April 12 (1)

H2O

The Gospel of John has more symbolism than the other Gospels combined. John forcefully uses bread, light, and water – all elements necessary for human life – to teach us that Christ alone is at the core of our being. Without food, water, and light, then we are without Christ.

 

In several consecutive chapters of John, the use of water is powerful. The following paragraphs can be used a devotional meditations during Advent or, as illustrated, during Lent. They can be used to bookend a week of meditations with the first and last used as sermon material and the middle ones as material to be read during the week.

 

John 7: 37-41 

Palm Sunday

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Messiah.”

  • Jesus proclaims to the masses that God is the source of all things. God can give each one of us a Spirit which links us ever closer to Jesus, but we are required to believe.
  • The masses believed. The masses stated Jesus was the Messiah or a prophet from God. The masses knew that Jesus was not “just” a human but that he was connected directly to God. And they wanted the living water, the connection that Jesus had with God.
  • Who is the source of your inner strength? What is the basis for your faith? Where is your “living water” coming from? How is your soul being restored daily?
  • Water is an element that is basic to all life. But God wants to give us more than just water, he wants us to have water that gives life. What’s more, God has this living water and generously gives it to all who believe in Jesus the Messiah.

 

Water is essential to our lives. Living water is essential to our souls.

 

Lead On!

Steve

 

H2O (part 6 of 8)

2016 03-March 8 (12)

H2O

The Gospel of John has more symbolism than the other Gospels combined. John forcefully uses bread, light, and water – all elements necessary for human life – to teach us that Christ alone is at the core of our being. Without food, water, and light, then we are without Christ.

 

In several consecutive chapters of John, the use of water is powerful. The following paragraphs can be used a devotional meditations during Advent or, as illustrated, during Lent. They can be used to bookend a week of meditations with the first and last used as sermon material and the middle ones as material to be read during the week.

 

John 6:16-21 

Fifth Sunday of Lent

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

  • A storm on the water is fearsome because boats can get destroyed by the water and lives can be lost. Fear is one of the most basic human emotions. Some of the disciples were fishermen and had probably been on the Sea of Galilee during storms. The rough sea had already alarmed them but then they see Jesus, walking on water.
  • A couple of times Jesus shows the disciples his power over the elements: he calms the sea one time and walks on it in this case. God is in control over everything, even the laws of nature which state that objects which are heavier than water (such as a person) will sink. The disciples saw Jesus standing on water and it just didn’t make sense to them. They were full of fear.
  • All of us have fear in our lives: grades, getting married, children, jobs, finances, illness, death, and too many others to count. Jesus used the water this time to show that God controls everything about our lives and our deaths.
  • God is greater than our fears. While it is natural and human to have fears, we should never let them overwhelm us to the point where we’re sinking under them. How do you handle your fears?

 

Water is essential to our lives. Living water is essential to our souls.

 

Lead On!

Steve

 

H2O (part 5 of 8)

2016 04-April 12 (18)

H2O

The Gospel of John has more symbolism than the other Gospels combined. John forcefully uses bread, light, and water – all elements necessary for human life – to teach us that Christ alone is at the core of our being. Without food, water, and light, then we are without Christ.

 

In several consecutive chapters of John, the use of water is powerful. The following paragraphs can be used a devotional meditations during Advent or, as illustrated, during Lent. They can be used to bookend a week of meditations with the first and last used as sermon material and the middle ones as material to be read during the week.

 

John 5:6-9 

Fourth Sunday of Lent

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

  • Jesus went to Jerusalem several times and probably passed the Pool of Bethesda because it is near the temple. The legend was that when the waters of the pool stirred then the first person in would be healed. In all the years of being at the pool, this made had never been healed – we have no idea of how many times he’d tried to get into the water first. He believed with all his heart that the water would heal him.
  • The man does not respond to Jesus’ question – he explains why he hasn’t been healed but he does not say whether or not he wants to be healed. And then Jesus doesn’t address what the man is saying, either. They are having separate conversations with each other about the same subject.
  • While the man is waiting on the water to heal him, Jesus acts. God is not waiting on nature or humanity but instead God has his own time. We may want miracles in the same way that happened before but God isn’t limited to repeating his work.
  • In this case, the man was constrained by his belief in the water. How many times do we put our confidence not in God but in materialistic or financial things? Often God doesn’t use what humans put their trust in. How, specifically, are you trusting in God to provide for your needs (not wants) as opposed to believing things will take care of you?

 

Water is essential to our lives. Living water is essential to our souls.

 

Lead On!

Steve

H2O (part 4 of 8)

2016 04-April 12 (5)

H2O

The Gospel of John has more symbolism than the other Gospels combined. John forcefully uses bread, light, and water – all elements necessary for human life – to teach us that Christ alone is at the core of our being. Without food, water, and light, then we are without Christ.

 

In several consecutive chapters of John, the use of water is powerful. The following paragraphs can be used a devotional meditations during Advent or, as illustrated, during Lent. They can be used to bookend a week of meditations with the first and last used as sermon material and the middle ones as material to be read during the week.

 

John 4: 10-15

Third Sunday of Lent

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

  • About 1700 years before Jesus met the woman at the well, Jacob the Patriarch dug this well for his family, his servants, and his animals. Jacob needed the water to live but he had no idea that hundreds of years later that the Messiah would sit at that well. He was thinking of his current needs.
  • Jesus’ conversation with the woman was about her current needs for water. She was too embarrassed to be seen with the other women of the town when they gathered water in the early morning. Instead, she came in the heat of mid-day and that’s when she met Jesus. She offered him some of the water she was getting, but then he talked about her future needs.
  • Jacob wasn’t thinking about his long-term needs and neither was the woman at the well. But God was when Jacob dug that well and so was Jesus when he talked with the woman. Jesus used the very still waters of a well to talk with her about flowing water that will meet her continuous needs.
  • Are you concentrating on your needs for today or your long-term needs? Can you look back and see how God has taken care of your needs in prior years and decades? If God will provide something as basic to human life as water and something essential to our humanity as His love, what do we have to worry about?

 

Water is essential to our lives. Living water is essential to our souls.

 

Lead On!

Steve

 

 

H2O (part 3 of 8)

2016 02-February 23 (12)

H2O

The Gospel of John has more symbolism than the other Gospels combined. John forcefully uses bread, light, and water – all elements necessary for human life – to teach us that Christ alone is at the core of our being. Without food, water, and light, then we are without Christ.

 

In several consecutive chapters of John, the use of water is powerful. The following paragraphs can be used a devotional meditations during Advent or, as illustrated, during Lent. They can be used to bookend a week of meditations with the first and last used as sermon material and the middle ones as material to be read during the week.

 

John 3: 3-5

Second Sunday of Lent

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

  • In the middle of the night, in complete secrecy, at a pre-arranged time and place, Jesus met a leader of the Jewish faith. This was a learned man whom others sought out for answers to their questions. And he was asking Jesus, an amateur rabbi, for answers about the Kingdom of God.
  • Jesus tells Nicodemus that finding God is about returning to basics, to seeking and finding God as if the world is completely new. It is about intertwining God’s earth and God’s Spirit so that you have a new DNA.
  • Are you immersed in earthly water so you know what is happening in your community? Are you plunged into the depths of God’s Spirit so that you are using that power to change your community? Is God’s Spirit part of your DNA and everyone sees it? How?

 

Water is essential to our lives. Living water is essential to our souls.

 

Lead On!

Steve

 

H2O (part 2 of 8)

2016 01-January 17 (11)

H2O

The Gospel of John has more symbolism than the other Gospels combined. John forcefully uses bread, light, and water – all elements necessary for human life – to teach us that Christ alone is at the core of our being. Without food, water, and light, then we are without Christ.

 

In several consecutive chapters of John, the use of water is powerful. The following paragraphs can be used a devotional meditations during Advent or, as illustrated, during Lent. They can be used to bookend a week of meditations with the first and last used as sermon material and the middle ones as material to be read during the week.

John 2:7-9

First Sunday of Lent

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.

  • Weddings in our day last but a few hours but a wedding in the time of Jesus lasted several days; some even lasted a month. Jesus’s family was close enough to the wedding party that they were invited to this long and expensive celebration. Having food and drink on hand for such a long time is tricky because you don’t know how much people will eat and drink, when they will come and go, and what they will like and dislike. But this was a family of means – they had several servants – so they had food, wine, and water set aside.
  • Wine was actually healthier in Jesus’ time than water. The fermentation process of wine killed germs which live in water. Water had to sit in order for silt to settle but that provided time for bacteria to grow. Water was a problematic fluid to drink. But Jesus didn’t wait for the water to settle, he acted.
  • Jesus knew there was a crisis. It was embarrassing to run out of wine. And Jesus knew he could do something about this problem. Jesus took the last item on the menu, water, and turned it into the best.
  • How are you allowing Jesus to take what you perceive as ordinary, your life, and make it into the best? How are you taking an ordinary moment in a day and making it into something special, something that others proclaim as wondrous?

 

Water is essential to our lives. Living water is essential to our souls.

 

Lead On!

Steve

 

 

H2O (part 1 of 8)

2016 01-January 16 (11)

H2O

The Gospel of John has more symbolism than the other Gospels combined. John forcefully uses bread, light, and water – all elements necessary for human life – to teach us that Christ alone is at the core of our being. Without food, water, and light, then we are without Christ.

 

In several consecutive chapters of John, the use of water is powerful. The following paragraphs can be used a devotional meditations during Advent or, as illustrated, during Lent. They can be used to bookend a week of meditations with the first and last used as sermon material and the middle ones as material to be read during the week.

 

 

Ash Wednesday

John 1:32-34

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.  And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

  • After the Gospel’s dynamic introduction of Jesus as the Word, we see the Christ approach John the Baptizer to request baptism. John’s witness is that God told him that he, John, would baptize the Messiah. John baptized with water in the Jordan River.
  • The first time we encounter water it is a symbol of purification. Jesus and the others who were baptized by John wanted others to see that they wanted and needed a visible sign showing their contrition and desire to be one with God.
  • Jesus uses water for his baptism. But more importantly, the baptism is used to reveal the true nature of Jesus, that he is the Son of God. John the Baptizer, the last Old Testament prophet, points to his cousin, Jesus, and proclaims that the Messiah is here and he was privileged to baptize him and introduce him to the world.
  • Water covers two-thirds of our globe; it is extremely common. God uses the ordinary to point to the extraordinary. You are I are extraordinary because we are divinely created and inspired. How are you and I pointing to the even more extraordinary – to Jesus the Messiah? How are you and I in our “common, ordinary lives” showing others who Jesus really is?

 

Water is essential to our lives. Living water is essential to our souls.

 

Lead On!

Steve