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July 2011

Come to the Waters

For the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost or Proper 13

From “Saving the Ants”

Scripture Reference: Isa. 55:1-5

Have you ever been to a state fair or a big festival where there are booths selling food of every kind? Sometimes the people working in the booths will yell out to those passing in the street and try to get some more customers. “Hot dogs! Foot-long hot dogs! Come and get your hot dogs!” or “Ice-cold snow cones! Satisfy your thirst! Lemon, strawberry, grape! Get your snow cones here!” Let’s say you smell something that you really like and you go over to a booth all set to eat your favorite treat. You place your order and then reach into your pocket to pay, but you realize that you have no money. Do you think the people in the booth would give you the food anyway? Probably not. You need money to buy food at the fair.

There’s a passage in Isaiah that sounds just like someone shouting from a booth at the fair. It reads, “Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without price” (Is. 55:1 RSV). There’s something different about this vendor, however. What’s the difference? (Children may answer.) That’s right! You don’t need money at this booth. They’re giving away free refreshment!

If you’ve ever gone to a state fair, you might find a milk stand where you could get all the milk you could drink for just a few cents. There might be a huge, shiny milk truck parked there that keeps the milk ice cold. It’s wonderful to stand and drink glass after glass of cold milk on a hot day. That is a good deal, but it still costs money.

One place at the state fair in Minnesota that offered refreshment at no charge was a building that had chilled water and a cool place to sit and relax. There was a sign on the front that had that very same Bible verse from Isaiah on it. “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters . . .” This building was run by church groups and as they gave people water to quench their thirst, they also gave them refreshment for their souls. They handed out fliers that told them of Jesus’ love and invited them to come to church.

The most valuable thing offered at the fair turned out to be something that no amount of money could buy. It was free. There is nothing that we can do or say or pay to earn God’s love. He gives it to us for free. You can drink a glass of water on a hot day, and be refreshed. But after an hour or so, you’ll be thirsty again. The water of life and the bread of life which Jesus offers to us takes away the thirst and hunger of our souls. His love is all that we need.

Prayer:  Lord, we come to the waters of your love with thirsty souls. Thank you for the free gift of your love that refreshes and satisfies us completely.


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