In the Gospel of John 7:37-52, Jesus tells us in part, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”
St. John’s explanation of these words of Jesus is, “Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
The Holy Spirit stays very busy. Many people are thirsty for peace and a meaning of life. It is through the Holy Spirit that we can come to Christ Jesus for a drink of the “living water”. Once our heart is primed, the living water received will pour out of us by many times.
The circuitous and long route that we take for our drink of the “living water” can be amazing. Adventurers and explorers go searching for experiences that ultimately teach them something simple about life.
Admiral Richard Byrd was obsessed with being the first to fly over the North and South Poles. After achieving these feats, he was still not satisfied. He led another expedition to the Antarctic to establish a winter weather station near the South Pole. Having a team of over fifty men at base camp to choose from, Byrd made a last minute decision to man the station by himself for the winter months.
Byrd was taken 120 miles over treacherous ice to the weather outpost and left on his own. Seven months later, he had to be rescued as he was near death from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator that he used at the remote station. He had a lot of time alone at the outpost to think about life.
Finally, this last real adventure of Byrd’s taught him a few simple things about life and family. This absentee husband and father had to leave his family and go thousands of miles into unexplored territory to find out that his joy was there at the beginning of his long journey.
We are like Admiral Byrd. We search the world over for a drink of the “living water” only to find it frozen. We have to bring it home with us to let it thaw out so that we can truly understand its meaning to us.
As the character “Dorothy” in the movie The Wizard of Oz said, “There’s no place like home.” We must be at home with the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is there through the Spirit that by believing we can drink the “living water” and it will flow like a river from our heart.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extention: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.