“Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John: 4:13-14

God’s encouragement for us…

We celebrated a Baptism during our worship service this week. A tiny baby received the sign of the cross on his heart and forehead. Water was poured over him in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We rejoiced with the parents as we applauded in unison, welcoming our new brother in Christ into the family. Afterwards, my heart pondered my day of Baptism as an infant. The same signs were made and the same words were spoken. From that day on, I belonged to God. Yet it took more than four decades for me to hear that the water Jesus gave me that day was “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

What I remember most about my early instruction in the Christian faith is sin. From a very young age I believed sin resided in my soul and that my soul could run out of room because I kept adding sins. I worried that I could use up all the “sin-room” allotted for my life. My family stopped attending worship while I held this childish belief and so I was haunted by worry it was too late for me to earn a place in heaven. I had sinned too often.

While I correctly understood that sin separated me from God, I was wrong that sin would keep me out of heaven. I belonged to God and He loved me, protected me, guided me, pursued me when I rejected His guidance, and was endlessly patient with me. Using events in my life, He turned me toward Him again and again. When I stopped running from Him, He brought me to a church and a Pastor who shared the Gospel message with me for the first time. “It is God who comes down to us,” he said. I was astonished that God comes down rather than requiring me to climb up. In this moment, the “spring of water” welled up. Jesus flowed into my life.

I hadn’t grasped that my understanding of God’s plan of redemption left out Jesus, His Son! I had made my place in heaven something I achieve by climbing up the “good” ladder, instead of something I receive as a gift through Jesus. The forgiveness He offers to us, through His death on the cross, as He paid the sin debt for all, is God’s plan of redemption. Jesus did for us what we cannot do for ourselves. I will always be humbled when I confess my sins, acknowledging the ways I’ve hurt others in thought, word and deed, by what I’ve done and what I’ve left undone. God loves them as He loves me, and it grieves Him when I hurt them. God transformed my understanding of redemption and I know now there is no limit to God’s ability to transform us. Every day, God provides opportunities to honor Him by blessing those He loves.

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Image: original pastel drawing “Spring of Living Water” by Robin Lybeck

To God alone be all the glory!