John 4:13-14 

Wednesday, March 15
Lance Wilkening

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

During a trip to Utah last year my wife, Stephanie, and I went on several hikes in the national parks there. To survive in the arid desert heat, you are advised to bring several liters of water with you. We carried this water in packs on our backs, pausing often to drink from a tube, making sure we stayed hydrated. But the amount of water each person can carry is limited, and before every hike we had to refill our backpacks.

On the same trip, we visited Lake Powell and saw boat docks sitting eerily abandoned in the desert, left high and dry as the lake shrinks because of a decades-long drought and the demands of millions of downstream residents who were drawn to that region by the promise of open space and plentiful sunshine, but who are now faced with the reality that water is a limited resource that must be conserved.

In contrast to the physical water on which our bodies depend, the Living Water Jesus describes to the Samaritan woman is limitless. It is abundant, not subject to climate change or the vagaries of human engineering. This Living Water is constant, always springing forth, “gushing,” unstoppable.

What is this Living Water? Jesus doesn’t specifically define it for the woman, but to me it is salvation, comfort, forgiveness, hope in times of desperation. Turning to the scriptures at low points in my life. Returning to the Word regularly to keep myself refreshed. Sharing this Living Water with others through words and actions. It is the mysterious but essential substance that somehow never runs out, always available to sustain me even when I don’t realize I need it.

Generous God, thank you for providing this Living Water and the promise of eternal life in Christ for those who drink of it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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