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.
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.