Sunday, 13 May 2007

The river of the water of life

Easter 6 year C Sermon The river of life
John 4: 7- 14 and Revelation 22:1-6
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God

Where does the river of the water of life begin? Where does it flow? When we’re parched and thirsty how can we reach it? When we feel empty and drained…how do we open ourselves to it’s refreshing stream?

When we’re conceived… is the river of life already flowing in us?

It seems that unless a tragedy happens…as we float in the warmth of our mother’s womb… everything we need is provided…

And one day we spill out into the harsh light
into a colder environment… no longer weightless… we are helpless…yet though the cord is cut…
unless a tragedy happens… we are not alone…

when our little tummies are empty… someone is there to fill them. When our little bodies need warmth and touching… someone is there to hold us.
When we need praise and affirmation… someone’s eyes glow with love…someone mouth grins in our direction.

It could be our mum…it could be our dad…it could be any loving person…

And unless a tragedy happens… the river of life keeps flowing into us. We are filled up…our tummies and our hearts are filled up…and we know we’re OK. We know we’re loved…and we can then love other people from the overflow… [pause]

It’s not quite so simple is it? The problem is…
our parents are fallible human beings…aren’t they? They have feet of clay… don’t they? Even the most well intentioned parents make mistakes. A quick search for cartoons about parental influence… reveals the truth…

It’s true… we meet many obstacles in the river of life and sometimes these are our parents themselves.
We can find ourselves gasping for air… drowning from the blunders or bad judgment…
of those we were most dependent on…the most vulnerable to.

Or we find the flow of the river of life… has somehow been cut off from us …and we end up dry and constantly thirsty.

Now its time to take out your pieces of paper. And if you could draw a water tank Ok see it’s got an inlet pipe and an overflow pipe and a tap at the bottom which can drain the tank.

Take a minute to think about where you’d put the water level in your tank? And draw it in if you feel like it.

Now spend some time in silence answering these questions as though the tank were you.

Where do you go to get filled up?
Who has control over the tap?
And were you to be filled up…where would the overflow go?

The problem is… when no one ever explains to us that the river of life doesn’t begin at our conception… When we falsely believe that our ability to be OK totally depends of other human beings with feet of clay…we can become cut off from the flow of love and life that comes from a loving relationship with God.

When no one tells us about the river of life that comes from God and the source of love that can fill up even the emptiest heart…if no one tells us…if no one points the way… we can spend a life time expecting other people to fill us up. People who may be drowning or dying of thirst themselves.

Somewhere somehow we all need to learn that only God can fill that great big gaping hole in our guts.

Jesus knew all about this gift from God. When he met the Samaritan woman at the well, he knew she’d been looking for the water of life in all the wrong places...searching in unrewarding wells.

And she wonders why Jesus is even bothers to talk to her. Yet Jesus answers 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...

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’

The only way I know to be filled is to ask God to do it and to allow God’s love flow into our lives. Whether our parents were wonderful or appalling our health as adults can’t depend on them or on others with feet of clay.

When we place ourselves in the middle of the river of God’s love and wisdom we will be filled.

So may you stop looking for the river of life in all the wrong places. May you find the time to ask the Spirit to fill you. May you sit still long enough to allow the creators love to fill you. May you ask Jesus to give you God’s gift of the water of the river of life. And may you be filled and may you love others from the overflow.

may you never be thirsty again.