Jesus said "Let the one who believes in me drink." That seems to be a pretty clear metaphor to guide us to where we get the source of all refreshment, especially on those days when our faith and our energies are sapped. Jesus calls us to the source of living water, which of course is himself.
But I think this statement also calls us to move in another direction. There is an action called for in Jesus' command. He calls his people to drink, to take action to quench our thirst, to participate, if you will, in the flow of the water, to stick your head into the movement somewhere between the source of the water, and its destination.
That's not to say it isn't important to take some "quality time" with Jesus in prayer and meditation. There is promised refreshment in doing that. But don't ignore the the second verse in our text today "Out of the believers heart shall flow rivers of living water." Jesus promises refreshment so abundant that Jesus himself will flow out of our faithful hearts, our faith transformed into loving acts that will flow out to others.
Faith then is formed by our relationship to Jesus Christ, the living water, but since living water is flowing water, we also participate in the movement of Christ in the world, equally refreshed, and providing refreshment to those downstream. We live and work in the world, because that is where Jesus is, that's where the living waters flow bringing love, peace, justice and kindness to all of God's creation.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer understood this and thought this was important as he observed a "world come of age" - where human knowledge had pushed the tradition concept of God as the explanation of all unknown things to the margins of reality. He didn't see this as a threat to our spirituality, but as a way to refocus that faith on the God that exists in our midst. Faith then, is not belief in what we can't see, but participation in the work of God that we do see. From prison, he wrote
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Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church (GA) in New York City has been chosen as one of eight internship congregations to participate this year in a church-wide initiative designed to increase our understanding of Holy Scripture and most importantly, to cultivate our engagement with it. In partnership with The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Vicar John Heidgerd will be working to develop innovative ways to deepen our faith formation and sense of discipleship for the sake of ourselves and our communities.