On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38 ESV) Today is Pentecost, the “birthday” of the Church! John explains how Jesus would send His Spirit to all of us who believe in Him.

There were three major festivals in Jesus’ day – the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and the Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths). In John 7:37-39, the Apostle John tells us about this third feast. This community celebration focused on the end of ingathering of the harvest. It reflected on the days of the wilderness wanderings (recreated by setting up booths or tents) and recalling the water that God provided in the desert. The feast also looked forward, though, to the coming messianic age. For seven days water was poured before the altar symbolizing the “living water,” that Ezekiel prophesied would flow from the Temple at the coming of the Messiah (Ezekiel 47).  On the last day of this feast, the priest would pour water seven times before the altar. This is the moment that Jesus chose to say, “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink.” He was making a very watery connection with Himself.

There are many watery connections in John’s gospel. In John 2, Jesus turned water into wine revealing His glory to His disciples. In John 3, Jesus discussed with Nicodemus about being born of water and the Spirit. In John 4, Jesus spoke with the woman at Jacob’s well about “living water.” In John 9, Jesus heals the man born blind by sending him to wash in the pool called “Sent.” But John’s most powerful testimony (in John 19:34) is at the crucifixion when the water and blood flowed from Jesus after His side was pierced to prove He was dead. This watery connection was not lost on John but flooded his theology. Jesus is the source of the living water – the Spirit of God, His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Together with the Father, Jesus would send the Spirit to be with us and live in us. The Holy Spirit would not only be a blessing to us, but He would also fill our lives and flow out of them as a source of refreshment for all, making us a watery connection to Jesus.

Again and again, we are reminded of how in Baptism, in the Lord’s Supper and in God’s Word we receive the Spirit from Jesus. He comes today and everyday as we live in the promises of God’s forgiveness of all our sin. As He breaths into us new life and hope, our souls are refreshed, revived, and made alive again. The Spirit is not just for us, though. He flows into our lives so that He can flow into the lives of others, too. This is His watery connection.

Today at International Lutheran Church we not only celebrate Pentecost and remember the sending of the Spirit, but today is also our Sending Service. At this time we give thanks to God for the people He has brought into our midst for a season so that we could join Him in sending them to share His gifts where they are going next. But this is really what happens every Lord’s Day as He fills us all with His Spirit and sends us out into the world to share His love and grace with all. This is His gift for you and me today – a watery connection!

Pastor Carl