Summary: A short sermon addressing Jesus being 'The Living Water'.
This sermon starts with an excerpt from a World Vision devotional of Lenten reflections from 'Living Water' reflections for lent; I’d encourage you to have a look at the online site. http://www.worldvision.org/news-stories-videos/lent-devotional-living-water
“JESUS TURNS WATER INTO WINE (John 2:1-11)
At first glance, it seems strange that Jesus’ first recorded miracle was so … frivolous, seemingly light hearted. Turning water into wine? At a party where the guests may have had enough to drink already (2:10)?
Initially, Jesus seemed to feel the same way. He appeared to dismiss His own mother’s request, saying, ‘My hour has not yet come’ (2:4). The foreboding reference to His own death was lost on those within earshot.
Perhaps out of deference to His mother, Jesus intervened after all. He instructed the servants to fill six stone jars. These weren't just any jars. They were ritual purification jars; the water they normally held was used to wash away impurity. In Jesus’ hands, they served an altogether different purpose: bringing new life into the party.
Jesus’ miracle made no more sense to the master of ceremonies than it does to us. It was extravagant.
Gratuitous. Excessive. And that’s the point. The jars of choice wine became a picture of God’s abundant grace, illustrating that Jesus did not come just to meet our spiritual needs. He came that we might flourish in every way. He came to offer hope and joy, for this life and the next.
The God who took on flesh in order to save us from sin and death wants us to experience life right here in the flesh.
At Cana, Jesus transformed a symbol of spiritual purification those jars of water into an even more powerful symbol of new life, the symbolism of the last supper, should not be lost here, Jesus blood shed for the forgiveness of the sins of many,—life abundant, overflowing, and all-encompassing."
The abundant life that Jesus brings is physical, emotional, intellectual and Spiritual it encompasses our whole being. This has an interesting possibility for outcomes, the truth is that wherever Jesus is, be it in your heart, your life or mine he takes the ordinary and does extraordinary things. That kind of signs and wonders stuff. This is something is to be embraced to be encountered, life change does not occur unless there is a willingness on behalf of the individual to engage in life change. Let me say this again, life change does not occur; we fall short of encountering divine out workings of God unless there is a willingness on behalf of us as individuals to engage in life change. Often we encounter people who are not willing to engage. William Booth talked about this engagement as surrender, these are his words, “The greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender.” While we hold onto self with all earthly passion we can’t be engaged fully by God.
God heals, he empowers, he releases, he comforts, he befriends, he makes lives fruitful where previously they were waste grounds, where lives were laid waste by a world and an enemy who is out to kill, rob and destroy. Jesus does extra ordinary things in lives where those living them respond and do as he asks them to do.
You may recall from a sermon last year where I spoke about a book by General John Larsson called Spiritual Breakthrough where he talked about Samuel Logan Brengle.
In his recalling of Brengle’s life, Larsson talks of how at the age of twenty-five, Brengle was at a seminary training to be a minister but he was troubled. He says, “He had also been increasingly troubled with the way he seemed always to oppose what he felt were God’s plans for his life. If God wanted one thing Brengle wanted the other. By nature he was an ambitious orator, eager to impress the world. But the Spirit [God’s Holy Spirit] seemed to have other ideas. On this point, as with so many others, young Brengle was at odds with God.”
“The lack of spiritual power was something that troubled Sam deeply. Not only was he defeated by the tempter far too frequently, but waves of doubt would wash over him, sometimes almost smothering him completely. Some days he found it well-neigh impossible to believe in God at all. “
Who was Samuel Logan Brengle? This man came to be after William and Catherine Booth probably the best known Salvationist of his time. What was it that took a struggling Christian and changed him to be a hero of the faith? How did the ordinary become extraordinary?
He went to visit one of his professors and made this statement “If what I have experienced of God, of abundant life is all there is to Christianity, then all is a cruel mockery.”