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The Word on the Week

The Sun

“In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat” (Psalm 19).

We have been treated to exceptionally large amounts of pure sunlight these last couple of weeks which, combined with the absence of rain, has enabled the Meteorological Office to announce an official drought. Who would have thought it? Rainy Ireland in drought! And it seems we are not alone if an email from Philadelphia is to be believed they are suffering on that side of the pond too.

With no end to the hot weather in sight we can expect water rationing to be introduced. What we take for granted becomes precious when we realise we have only a finite amount and cannot reproduce it ourselves. When the well goes dry these facts become reality – a reality which is a daily problem for many on our planet.

The value of water was not lost on people in Bible times. The climax of the Feast of Tabernacles, the 7th day, when water carried from the well was carried through Jerusalem and up to the Temple where it was poured out as an oblation onto the thirsty ground. This had occurred each of the preceding days but on the 7th it was performed 7 times. That which was most precious was offered up to God in adoration.

It was against this backdrop that Jesus spoke. `On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “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.” (St John Chapter 7 verse 37/8).

It is likely that all who heard these words that day were thirsty. It is even more likely that they recognised Isaiah’s words of invitation to the people of his day being quoted to them but with a difference. This time they pointed the thirsty to Jesus himself. He offered to quench their thirst. He had made the same offer to the Woman at the well of Samaria prompting her to ask for the “living water” (St John Chapter 4 verse 15).

These illustrations become more compelling in drought as we repeatedly fill up the glass with water which only satisfies for a little while. Jesus’s invitation to come to him of course means to come to place your trust in him, to believe in him in an ongoing personal way. Like the current heat the invitation reaches everyone. Will you receive the water of life?