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Good Friday 2013
Christ Church (Parish) Church
Fredericton, New Brunswick
March 29, 2013 12 Noon - 3:00 p.m.
The Reverend Anthony Kwaw
Rector of Fredericton
The Reverend Canon Jim Irvine
John contributes to the story of the day. His contribution overflows in his Gospel retelling not only on the occasion of Jesus’ crucifixion, but earlier as well. The breadth of his account helps us begin to imagine the magnitude of the Justice being ushered in, beginning very shortly after his baptism and continuing to his dying hours.
Thirst plays a signicant role in the proclamation of the Kingdom. Jesus broadens our view to see that thirst as a human appetite is not exclusive to the progeny of Abraham, neither is the opportunity for the quenching of our thirst.
Dramatically, we learn that Jesus asked a Samaritan woman for a drink.
John 4:7 Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
By keeping our focus on Jacob’s well and the cool refreshing libation that is out of Jesus’ reach, we stand to gain much from the exchange between Jesus and this woman. Surprised that he addressed her, she chided him for even asking for a drink. As a Jew Jesus would not have been expected to share a cup, a ladle to satisfy his thirst – even on a hot day when the sun was at its zenith. But she learns that not only would Jesus drink from her ladle, but that had she known who he was, and asked, he would have given her water – living water – accessible without the aid of a bucket. Good news! And the requisite? Simply to acknowledge a thirst – and to ask.
Jesus extends the image of thirst in John’s account of the dispute that arose between Jesus and his disciples. He embraces the imagery of thirst experienced in the Exodus – the time when their ancestors were in the desert.
John 6:48 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The reference recalls a time when Israel experienced redemption and knew that their pleas for deliverance had been heard. But every generation needs to be evangelized and Jesus’ disciples were indifferent to the depth and demand of his teaching. Like us, as long as we benefit from the miracles and signs of the day, we are less aware of our hunger, and our thirst. John’s account goes on…
53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
At the Feast of Tabernacles, commemorative of Israel’s wandering in the desert, Jesus was in the Temple in Jerusalem. Amphorae were close at hand for the occasion. The invitation extended to the Samaritan woman, and then to his disciples was soon extended publically to Israel as they gathered at the Temple.
John 7: 37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”
In each instance thirst is required and the promise is made to slake such thirst. Recipients would know a quality of life the likes of which they had not imagined.
Jesus continued to extend the opportunity for such a libation at the cross. A Samaritan woman was an unexpected agent of Jesus’ teaching at the beginning of his ministry. In the closing hours a Centurion, responding to a cry, demonstrated compassion and mercy.
John 19: 28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.
They could not have been any more thirsty when the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed from the wilderness of Sin and camped at Rephidim. As Moses struck the rock at Horeb water gushed forth and the people drank. Their thirst was seen on Golgotha and their witness in the wilderness anticipated the confession of a Centurion on the heights of Golgotha generations later: “Is the LORD among us or not?”
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