Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
In John chapter 7, every time Jesus spoke, he stirred up controversy. His brothers in Galilee said, “Your miracles are making you a celebrity. You should go to Jerusalem and get wider exposure.” But Jesus replied, “They hate me up there and it’s not time for me to go.” But soon after, he went to Jerusalem anyway.
The people didn’t recognize him, but they found his teaching amazing. They said, “Where did he learn this stuff? He’s not a graduate of any school we know.” Jesus replied, “I’m from God and you are trying to kill me.” Amazement turned to scorn and the people said, “Are you demon possessed? Who is trying to kill you?”
Then Jesus explained who he was, “I healed one man on the Sabbath, and now the narrow-minded Pharisees think I’m such a threat to their religious system, they want to kill me.”
“Ohhhh . . .” said the people. “This is the man the Pharisees hate. Why aren’t they trying to stop him? Perhaps he is the Messiah. Where is he from?” Jesus said, “You know where I’m from. God sent me.” But the people said, “Impossible. The next prophet comes from Bethlehem, not Galilee like you.”
Sounds like the Obama birther arguments! Was the president born in America or not? Did Jesus come from Bethlehem or not? Jesus ignored the conspiracy theories and the furore. He didn’t produce his Bethlehem birth certificate, he just proceeded with the business of being Messiah, and let people be offended if they chose to.
In the midst of this controversy, Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me. . .rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:37-38). Is that your experience? Do rivers of living water flow from within you?
Jesus, we don’t know what to make of all the controversy you stirred up. What kind of celebrity are you? When are you going to Jerusalem? Where are you from? Are you thumbing your nose at the Pharisees? Is it necessary to alienate them? Why won’t you answer a simple question about your birth certificate?
In our confusion your promise draws us to you, for you said, “Whoever believes in me, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” We picture a river flowing through dry country, watering trees, irrigating gardens, satisfying thirsty people and animals. Is that what you offer us? To be a source of water that will flow into a dry and desert world? To be people who give your gifts to others–healing of the body, healing of the memories, knowledge of God, loving relationships, wisdom in walking through life?
Jesus, our lives are dry, narrow, constricted, calculating. Open within us the sources of living water, let it flow freely through our lives, let it flow freely to the world around us. May the power of your spirit melt the glaciers that constrain us and burst the dams that constrict us. May it turn our lives from stagnant ponds to flowing, life-giving rivers.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.