THE ‘LET’ OF LENT – Tuesday, March 16th
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “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.’” (John 7:37-38 NRSV)
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. (Revelation 22:17 NRSV)
I love this spiritual invitation that Jesus gives us! First, he perfectly describes our longing for him as being “thirsty.” Our need for Jesus is like thirst, for we need him to quench our deepest yearnings, to refresh our dry spirits, to replenish our withered souls. Then he calls us to freely come, to take the water of life as a gift! We are given this holy thirst, and we are given the answer to our thirst. Jesus is our source and sustenance of life.
I have felt this thirst for Jesus, haven’t you? I want to come to him when I’m worried, when I’m thankful, when I need direction, and even when I’m content. I cannot recall a time when I thought, “Okay, I have had my fill of Jesus now.” These words today bless this holy longing. Jesus invites us to freely come and drink.
Then we have this verse that confuses me a bit: Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”1 Jesus abides in us always. He fills us with his goodness and love forever. In him, we have everything we need for life.
But I’m still thirsty… I still want more of Jesus. Am I missing something? Where is this thirst coming from, if Jesus has already filled me?
I found my answer by learning more about sponges. 😀
HOW DOES A SPONGE WORK? The key to functionality when speaking of sponges, is a little scientific concept known as surface tension. All of those nooks, crannies and holes are not just for looks, and they are actually integral to how this tool works. The increased surface tension created by this inner structure will actually draw in moisture and cause it to cling to the surface of the sponge, and then absorb into the material… In general, the more holes there are, the more surface area there is, and therefore, the more moisture the sponge can hold…
When dry, these holes are larger and more rigid, but as the block begins to saturate, the holes will shrink as the rest of the sponge swells. A dry sponge allows water to flow in quickly, but will also cause more water to escape due to the big holes. As the holes shrink, the water has a more difficult time leaving due to the narrowed passageways, but it will also begin sticking to the other water molecules as well. This is why a wet sponge will soak up more water than a dry one. The holes of a sponge act as absorption points as well as storage areas, and when water begins to enter, it will both cling to the vast surface area as well as absorb into the material.2
We are like the sponge in our thirst for Christ. When we create more space for time with God, these spaces increase our ‘surface area’ to receive and absorb more of the water of life. God increases our soul’s capacity – much like the spaces in a sponge expand – so we can take in even more precious water. As additional water begins to shrink the spaces, these spaces become both absorption points and storage areas.
Wet sponges can absorb more liquid than dry ones!
Let us keep seeking, keep thirsting for this water of life. As we become more saturated, may we let God continue to expand our spaces and increase our absorption. May we also remember to generously and freely pour out the water of life for others, for we can trust Jesus’s promise to keep filling us – always!
May we respond to Jesus’s invitation to us, “Let anyone who is thirsty, come,” with joyful and open hearts to absorb every drop!
Our reading for tomorrow is Luke 5:1-11.
1John 6:35 (NRSV)
Bible verses are found at https://classic.biblegateway.com/