Water is one of the most powerful images found throughout the Bible. In the beginning, God’s Spirit hovered over the waters as creation began. Abraham swears an oath to Abimelech at the well of Beer-Sheba; God causes a spring of water to gush out for Hagar and Ishmael; God parts the waters of the Red Sea and He brings water out of the rock at Meribah. The prophets speak of water as new life. In a vision, Ezekiel sees water flowing from the Temple in Jerusalem which will make a great river that will bring life to the Dead Sea.
Jesus is baptized in the waters of the Jordan and God speaks to Him as He comes up from the water. In Samaria, Jesus enters into a discussion with a woman drawing water from a well and He shares the secret of the Living Waters. Jesus walks on the waters of the Sea of Galilee and, of course, He changes water into wine at Cana. He heals the paralytic man by the well near the sheep gate in Jerusalem and on the Cross, Jesus cried out “I thirst.”
Water is life. Without water there is no life.
The image of water is central to the Jewish Feast we are talking about this Sunday, the Feast of Booths, or Sukkot. A major part of the celebration centers around water flowing in the Temple as the people read from the Psalms and cheered. In his Gospel, John tells us what happened at Sukkot one year that changed everything. On the last and greatest day of the Feast, the 8th day, Jesus stood in the Temple and proclaimed, “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.”
This Sunday, we are invited to drink of the Living Water and to experience Life!