I loved leading music at Immanuel’s vacation Bible school this summer. Hearing the Bible’s great water stories, as well as re-enacting Jesus’ baptism by John (with all of the kids) made me think of another favorite water passage:
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38
I love this passage—even though I have no idea what Jesus is talking about. Lots of things flow out of my life; I doubt any of them are living water. I think on my best days I am better likened to a tepid, dripping tap.
But it struck me, amid a season of transition and change in my own life, that maybe the living water Jesus gives us is our tears—our ability to feel. Our tears that remind us that we are alive. Our tears that cause us to care for one another.
Maybe that’s the kind of water God offers us in our wilderness today—tears that draw us together. Tears that break our hearts open so that God might use us. Tears that help us feel when we are numb.
I think that’s the kind of water God offers, and the kind of water that flows out of the lives of people of faith.
That’s the living water that we can offer the world. Not a miracle tonic or quick fix. Not all the answers to our deepest questions. But water in the wilderness. Water out of the most unlikely of places, even our own selves. Water that nurtures and sustains. Water that simply gives us life so that we might venture on, together, with God.
May it be so.
Billy Kluttz works as the Evening Service Coordinator at Immanuel (5:30 pm on Sundays). Originally from North Carolina, he is a recent graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary. He loves college basketball, country and folk music, and all things southern. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.