"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 7:38 NRSV
Back in my early college days, I used to do a fair amount of hiking with my friend Mike Shettleroe. Most of these were in the nearly 203,000 acres, Hoosier National Forrest. After a few hours of steady walking, we would stop for a short break, shuck off the heavy backpacks, sit for a bit and rest our tiring legs, but most importantly to drink some much-needed water. When we found a clear, running spring, we would fill our canteens and drop in the iodine tablets. Even with the slightly metallic taste of the pills, nothing tasted as sweet as that fresh, cold spring water. It refreshed like nothing else.
While water slakes our natural thirst, Jesus promises something that will fulfill our spiritual craving; the Holy Spirit. It is a beautiful gift that must be accepted though, "let the one who believes in me drink." What would have happened if we stopped at the stream on the hike and acknowledged that the water looked good but refused to drink? The answer is obvious; we would have remained thirsty! The gift of the Holy Spirit is no different. In filling our canteens, we also had water to look forward to on the trail later. When we accept Christ and drink of the water of his Spirit, we are satisfying not only an immediate thirst but also receiving a gift of living waters that will sustain us for the journey ahead.
God, we give you thanks for your gift of water, the clean, pure water of your creation, the water of our baptism, and the pure water of the Holy Spirit. In your love, you satisfy both our physical and spiritual thirsts. Please help us to remember the accessibility of the flowing rivers of your living water. When we grow weary, you are always there to sustain us without fail with the fresh, cold, clean, clear water of the Holy Spirit. We only need to stop, pause, and drink. Amen.