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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Living Waters (Thought for the Day 113)

March 12, 2024Today’s readings:Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9John 5:1-3, 5-16

     

     The prophet Ezekiel is given a vision of the temple from where water was flowing. God shows the Jewish exiles what God had prepared for them, with water signifying great blessing and evidence of His presence. Where the river flows, there is great abundance—fruitful trees and bountiful fish (Ez 47:7-12).


      God is the source of living waters (Jer 2:13,17:13), and those who are in Christ will themselves be sources of rivers of living water (Jn 7:38), by the Spirit of Jesus within them. Tragically, the Jews had forsaken God and their covenant, and so were conquered by their enemies and in exile. Christians today forsake Jesus and do not authentically live out their faith, and so live lives of woe, weakness and domination by the enemy.


      But God is faithful to His people, He seeks them out, He forgives, He heals, He restores. And so it was that Jesus healed a man ill for 38 years, who had sought healing at the pool Bethesda in Jerusalem (Jn 5:2-9). Later Jesus told him, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” (Jn 5:14). Here we must see some basic truths.


  • Sin is ultimately the cause of all our woes.

  • God is the source of healing.

  • True healing is both physical and spiritual. Our response to God’s goodness and working in our lives is repentance of sin.

  • When God touches our lives, we are to enter more deeply into the new life and avoid sin. Otherwise, the waters of divine grace will cease to flow, and woes will return, and even worse than before.

     Now entering more deeply into the new life is challenging. It is not easy. It is like the waters that God made Ezekiel go through. First it is ankle-deep, then up to the knees, then up to the waist, then too deep to wade across (Ez 47:3-5). When we first meet Jesus and begin to experience conversion, we are overjoyed. The new life is wonderful. Jesus is easy to talk to. His words in scripture touch our hearts. So we enter more deeply. Then challenges come. Things no longer just go the way we want. We begin to understand more about the new life, that sorrow


can come with joy. Still we push forward. Greater challenges come, this time with suffering, pain, oppression and persecution.


      Such is the Christian life. Jesus at first deals with us as babies in Christ. But we need to grow to adulthood, to the full stature of Christ. The challenges will never end, because they are meant to help us grow, to make us stronger, to have us persist and endure. At first we are just wading in the waters, but then we need to swim (Ez 47:5), often against the tide. There will be times when the river seems impassable (Ez 47:5b). But this is by God’s design. We learn that we cannot go on our own strength, but only by the grace and mercy of God. For man it is impossible, but for God nothing is impossible.

 

     Today Christians face great challenges, living in a world dominated by sin and darkness. The “waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging.” (Ps 46:4). “Nations rage and kingdoms totter” (Ps 46:7a). Nature is on a rampage, and nations are at war. We are ever closer to doomsday, with the threat of nuclear war. Christian persecution is rising, even in the supposedly-Christian West. The Church herself has been infiltrated by the enemy.


     But the end must come, one way or another. We are in the end times, and final judgment looms. What are we to do? We must enter more deeply into our life in Christ, the source of living waters. “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea” (Ps 46:2-3). Earth itself may be shaken by a giant asteroid or nuclear explosions, mountains and cities may crumble due to a massive earthquake, a giant tsunami may come from the depths of the sea. But we remain secure in Christ.


     How wonderful it is to be in Christ and to dwell in the city of God. What a blessing it is to know that “the Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.” (Ps 46:8). Jesus touches our lives and heals us, and strengthens us through the trials in this valley of tears. Let us remain soaked in the river of living waters. “Streams of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High. God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken; God will help it at break of day.” (Ps 46:5-6).

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