I hope you are refreshed from the weekend and ready to move into a new week with the Word of God. Our Advent theme of “In The Beginning” is reflected in every event that brings us a fresh start. I hope Monday feels like a fresh start to you! Our reading for today features a powerful image and a beautiful invitation. I imagine Jesus standing tall, looking over the crowd while cupping his hands around his mouth to form an impromptu megaphone. Without hesitation he speaks in a loud and forceful voice with the power of a public proclamation. The words that flow are overflowing with an offer that creates some confusion. He says, “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.” If you are alone, you might try cupping your hands over your mouth and speaking in your most clear and loudest voice just to see what the words sound like from that perspective. If the kids are still asleep or if you are in an elevator…I suggest you just whisper to yourself! Some heard those words and declared that Jesus was the Messiah or a prophet. Others were troubled and did not know what to think. They knew the Messiah was to come from the House of David and the city of Bethlehem but they saw Jesus as the man from Nazareth. Their confusion ended up in division and chaos. Some even wanted to take the law into their own hands but no one touched him on that day. Outside the Bronco’s game last night the “Jesus Saves” street preacher was sharing his typical megaphone message that there is only one God and his name is Jesus. Thousands of people walked within ten feet of him but completely ignored the message. Others listened just enough to make a caustic comment. I am sure a few even called him names and made fun of the message. I’m not a street preacher kind of guy but I hope I will be able to hear when the Lord speaks in a loud voice and offers me one more new beginning. How about you, have you heard that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That, my friends, is Good News!
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, 38and 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.’” 39Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 40When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” 41Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? 42Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” 43So there was a division in the crowd because of him. 44Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.