One of my favorite places on earth is Pops. Part convenience store, part diner, all soda. My windowsill is lined with root beer bottles found at Pops. When I’m thirsty, and on the road between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, I stop at Pops. Because I know I can always find a root beer I’ve never tasted before.
When I was prepping for the marathon, I was spending hours every week on running trails and sidewalks in my neighborhood. My fridge was constantly stocked with Gatorade. Because, whether I’d run 3 miles, 5 miles, or 15 miles, I needed rehydration. I was thirsty.
It’s a big religious festival in Jerusalem. Wall-to-wall people. Claustrophobic. The smell of people and animals that stains your nose hairs. Bleating of sheep and yelling of salespeople. A whole bunch of chaotic busy-ness all for the sake of something spiritual. Everybody’s driven by this motivation to touch something divine.
And in the midst of this scene stands up on something so everyone can see him. And shouts out so everyone can hear him. He’s suddenly the center of attention.
If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart wil flow rivers of living water.’
Living water. Echoes of the Samaritan woman back in chapter 4.
Jesus somehow knows about that itch that I just can’t scratch, that tickle in the back of the throat that no amount of Dr. Pepper satisfies. He knows about that thirsty part of the soul that no amount of activity takes care of.
Here’s a fun fact: Wherever there is running (i.e., “living”) water, there is life. LIFE, that big word in John’s Gospel.
Look at a map. Where there are rivers, there are people and cities. Sit on a river bank. Where there are creek beds and streams and rivers, there are green things growing and flourishing.
Living water brings LIFE.
What about you? What do you see?