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Week 4 March 2024, Devotion Part 2

If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38

God’s smile is a sure thing if we buy into His bottling principle that works in reverse. It makes for the “uncorked” Christian who is willing to be poured out for the needs of the people in his path. Some long for the biblical wine and oil of genuine human joy; others require such for compassionate wound-tending. Some are frantic to quench their thirst for meaningful living that is not mocked by suffering and death. Jesus invites a belief in Him that will flow out in myriad blessings. Lest we develop pride or performance anxiety, God rarely lets us realize the full impact of such ministries. When Jesus sent out seventy “others” to heal and teach – not His “celebrity” disciples, mind you – they returned with the breathtaking news that even demons were subject to their authority in Christ’s name. Jesus told them bluntly not to gloat, but to rejoice only that their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:20).

The faith it takes to become reliable channels of God’s grace cannot be grown in the hothouse of nominal Christianity. It must be organic and have its roots in Christ’s cross and our spiritual rebirth. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a one-time event upon our conversion that secures our eternal position. The daily infilling with His Spirit infuses us with divine power to meet human needs as they arise. Best of all, the Holy Spirit grows in us a love life with Jesus that makes Him both exalted Lord and intimate Friend. (Part 2 of 2)

Comment: In John 3 the high-ranking Pharisee Nicodemus wonders what it means to be “born again.”  In chapter 4 the woman at the well is clueless about “living water.”  In the end, she becomes a stunningly unifying force in her town, while Nicodemus has conclusively separated himself from the Sanhedrin’s hostile mindset, and helps lay Christ’s body in the tomb.  I’ve long been intrigued by the fact that these chapters were placed next to each other.  They both tell a story without explaining how the two main characters “got it.”  In a devotional written years ago, I discussed “dysfunctional families” and eased into the subject by visiting Sychar.  “The much-married woman of Samaria has stolen away from town at high noon to draw urgently needed water from Jacob’s well. Being drawn into a confusing conversation with the Jewish stranger must strike her as bizarre. The scene would be less surreal if her five former mothers-in-law suddenly materialized to ambush her with a barrage of scorching invectives fit for a serial home-wrecker. But what if their flared tempers and inflamed tongues were to fail them at the sight of one so palpably miserable? Though she is still a “looker,” her features are etched by disillusionment. Can this be the cunning vixen who preys on infatuated sons to infuriate their mothers and make yet another family the laughingstock of their respectable town?”  Tabloids would kill for a confession such as hers, “He told me all I ever did.”  Her fellow citizens who came to faith in Jesus, declared Him to be “the Savior of the World” (4:42)  The crux of “I am the way, the truth, and the life” distilled in the heart, creatively “uncorks” the believer at Christ’s beckoning.  John 7


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