“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”–Margaret Atwood
Standing on the edge of the river, our eyes watch the water flow over the rocks and obstacles. The water knows to flow over it or through it. Water, like the waters of Baptism, is holy and refreshing. It also cleanses us of our sins. In addition, it quenches our thirst like no other beverage. But what about those places where there is no water or their water isn’t pure?
I cannot help but think of the people in Flint, Michigan as I read our text from Ezekiel. I find myself crying out, “How long, Oh Lord, will you forget them forever?” When will they get the clean water they so desperately need in that community? I also find myself thinking about those in my own state who were trying to protect the pipeline from going through one of their main water sources. In both of these situations, it is water that is central.
Water is central to the gospel too. Jesus offers the life-giving water that only he can give. Jesus offers this life-giving water to the woman at the well and she tells others about this water; water that gives life to all of God’s people. And it is this life-giving water that finds Jesus hanging on the cross on the night of his crucifixion and death. With his hands and feet nailed to the cross and a crown of thorns on his head, Jesus parched from thirst simply cries out “I thirst.” A sponge of water is placed upon his lips; only wetting his thirst very little. And then Jesus breaths his last.
Water is a holy element in this world. It flows freely. It goes exactly where it wants to go. Water is patient. Water quenches our thirst. Water frees us and washes us of our sins. Water calls and claims us as God’s beloved children as we are freely given the gift of the life-giving water only Jesus can give. Are we willing to share that water with all of God’s beloved children?