Summary: 3rd in a series with practical application as a whole church family. A study of Mt 25 and what the Church should do about it. Concept borrowed from a series from a Tim Cook, a fellow preacher.
(today, the Church brought food to be given to a local ministry for the needy. The next week, people will bring a special offering, collected in water bottles, to build wells in India)
Intro: Let me reset the context for this series today.
In Matthew 25, Jesus describes certain groups of people – people in need – the hungry, thirsty, those in need of clothing, strangers, the sick, and those in prison – and refers to them as “The Least of These.” The point of His story is simple: when we take care to meet the needs of these needy people, it is the same as doing it for Jesus Himself. So, for these next 5 weeks, we are continuing our effort to see the face of Jesus in those people, and to see our care for them just as if we’re caring for Jesus – not just for these few weeks, but from now on too! And we’re working through several practical ways that we can make actually do that together.
This pile of food on the stage here is one way we’re doing that – by addressing hunger through Rockford Rescue Mission. We’ll dedicate this food to that cause before we leave today.
And today, we’re talking about the role of water in peoples’ lives. Water! What could be simpler?
Why, every Sunday, I bring a bottle of water along with me. It’s because my throat needs the break. I don’t feel too bad about needing that. Sometimes, even senators who are delivering the Republican response to the State of the Union address need a drink of water!
Why Water Matters
Everyone here has already used water today – maybe a lot of it. The average person in the US uses anywhere from 80-100 gallons of water per day. So, I know that you already care about water, but let me broaden your horizons a little bit today and just give you a few reasons to appreciate how much it actually matters to you.
Water is Life
I remember biology class in 8th grade. We got to go down to the pond behind Holmes Jr. High School and scoop up water samples into little vials. The, we trekked back to our classroom and put a couple drops under the microscope. Eww!
It was all a part of learning an important part of the way creation works: water is life.
Take away water, life stops. Add water, life happens. It’s that simple. It’s because of that the driest parts of planet are also the most lifeless, and the parts of the planet with the most water are teeming with it.
This past week, another report came back from the surface of Mars, confirming that there is water on that planet – not just ice, but some kind of water cycle that includes water in a non-ice form. Scientists are pretty excited about it, because they know that to discover life on Mars, even in its simplest form, presumes there first must be water on Mars. No water, no life.
If you’ve ever gone without water for a long time, you have come to appreciate how important it is to you. You can probably survive a few weeks with no food, but only 3-5 days without water, depending on the conditions.
Go without water for any length of time, and you suddenly regain a healthy perspective on water all over again.
Anytime I’ve been overseas, one of the greatest necessities that immediately arises is safe water. In many countries, it’s just not safe to use the water, so you have to make sure that you use only bottled water, which can get costly, and which is heavy to carry around with you. It’s not convenient, but when it’s a choice between that and cholera or dysentery, you use the bottled water.
Water plays such a central role in so many stories in the Bible. Quite simply, water is life. No water, and life can’t be sustained; especially in a land that contains a lot of wilderness. If you were going to live anywhere, there had to be water. So we read…
Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them.
Wells with names? Sure! When that well is an essential part of your daily life! We give names to dogs. These people named their wells. That whole chapter in Genesis is about wells. Livestock can’t live without water either, so there had to be wells for Isaac to live where they stayed.
Egypt is built around the delta of the Nile River. All life there centered at the river and went out from there. So, when the Lord struck Egypt with 10 plagues, remember the first one? He struck the water – the river, and the water everywhere around. If you want to cause hardship to people in Egypt, take away their water.