Summary: A sermon/study looking at the subject of water in the Bible. The talk is given as though the congregation are walking through a series of rooms in an art gallery. Each of three rooms shows various pictures taken from scripture portraying how God uses wa
We’re in a series looking at the Gospel of John – last week Jesus & Nicodemus – This week Jesus with the Samaritan woman.
Last week I visited The Tate art gallery in St Ives – There was an Exhibition showing work by Barbara Hepworth (20’s to 60’s) Remember her?
Art is often a way of expressing life in in varing ways. It can often take the objective and make it subjective, it can present a different perspective on things we think we know well.
Today’s passage is reasonably well known by Christians so I thought this mornings sermon would be a little different. I thought rather than a conventional sermon we would look at a collection of pictures – we would enter a virtual art gallery together. Is that alright?
When we got to the Tate last week I refused to go in because I discovered we had to pay – I thought it was free! – Even though I wanted to go in – I had to be dragged in screaming and paying – because it was different to my expectations.
ENTER VIRTUAL GALLERY
So let’s enter the gallery together, have you got your imaginations with you? Where going to walk into 3 rooms, each portraying different aspects of Water. As we enter each room let’s take a look at some of the pictures.
ROOM 1 - WATER – AN IMAGE OF GOD
This first room is entitled Water – An image of God. This is the largest of the rooms we’ll be going in today.
In this room we see many images of God’s blessing and provision being portray by artists as symbolised by water.
We start by looking at a picture by the prophet Ezekiel, in 47, where he paints a picture of God’s house and coming out of it is water flowing, flowing. First it’s ankle deep, then knee deep, then waist deep, then it’s flowing so high and so fast that man cannot cross it. (9) Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. (12) Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river…. Every month they will bear fruit because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.
Water representing the unrestricted flow of God’s blessings upon his people. The water flows bridging across from God to man. It sustains the living things & heals them.
Next we have a couple of sketches by Jeremiah. They are two of my favourite pieces. I call them the two 13’s. Firstly we have 2:13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
And then we have a similar sketch by Jeremiah, his 17:13 O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.
Look how he paints the contrast between those who turn away from God, who will be written in the dust, and the righteousness of God as the spring of living water. Funny how we can feel dusty & dry when we turn away from God isn’t it.
So we see that the two prophets portray God the Father as the source of living water.
Next to those portraits we see the promising N.T artist, John displaying his water works, or should I say works of water – symbolising the presence of the Holy Spirit and belief in the Son of God :-
Firstly, observe the Gospel writer John in his words of 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.
He we see the same streams of living water that Jeremiah used, and John is showing them flowing from the Son. Or rather it is through the son that we receive the Holy Spirit.
And of course through the picture we have heard read to us today we see a glimpse of that… the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Finally, another couple of sketches from John’s Revelation collection, 22:1 (note the similarity to Ezekiel’s picture we looked at earlier) Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.