Sunday, November 22, 2015
A LIVING WATER CHRISTMAS
Jordan River Headwaters, Banias, Northern Israel
I admire the no-nonsense attitude exhibited by Pope Francis who is now the spokesperson for the world-wide Catholic Church. This week he went on record in a sermon stating that “Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and nativity scenes. It’s all a charade. The world continues to go to war. The world has not chosen a peaceful path…We should ask for the grace to weep for this world, which does not recognize the path to peace. To weep for those who live for war and have the cynicism to deny it. God weeps, Jesus weeps.”
Over 2,000 years ago God came into this world wrapped in the flesh and blood of a human being. Mary delivered the young baby who was sent to deliver her and all mankind. The people of the time were looking for a warrior king to save them from the occupying Roman army, but his mission was to save us from ourselves. Or as the prophet Isaiah writes, he came as the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. Our God never seems to select humans for incredible tasks that we humans would choose. And He never seems to act in ways that would seem logical to us humans. He impregnates an aging Elizabeth who is well past child rearing with John the Baptist and a teenage Mary with His only Son. That leaves no doubt concerning the source of the power behind the human.
Thirty years later, the Son Jesus was walking through the northern kingdom of Israel with its capital at Samaria. The chosen people had been defeated by the Assyrians after they had turned their backs on God and He withdrew his protection. The remaining Jewish Samaritans had intermarried with the invaders and were shunned by the southern Jews, but Jesus didn’t acknowledge such cultural bias. He met a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well that legend says was named Photina. She was even shunned by the Samaritans because her life had spiraled off the tracks. But Jesus knew her heart and crossed all barriers to speak to Photina, offering her “Living Water” so that she would never thirst again.
The Old Testament has many passages which Jesus knew that speak of thirsting after God as one thirsts after water. God came into this world on Christmas as living water to satisfy the soul’s thirst to be connected to the one true universal power that is grounded in love and relationship. He came to reveal Himself to us and what he desires for us—to structure our lives so that we could all ultimately love one another and our Creator. And he demonstrated His loving grace through the Prince of Peace who has the power to accomplish it through us. This was no charade but an act of unconditional love for all mankind that the world needs more than ever this Christmas.