If we buy ourselves bottles of sparkling or still water we can easily pay more per gallon than we pay even for the premium gasoline my car requires. The Lord Jesus and the Christian Church offer life-giving water, as many will hear tomorrow in the Gospel Reading for the Third Sunday in Lent, and Jesus and the Church offer that life-giving water for free.
In John 4:1-42, with its link to Holy Baptism, a tired Jesus socially-incorrectly asks a Samaritan woman with a questionable background for a drink of water from Jacob’s well. And, He ends up giving her the life-giving water of Himself as the promised Messiah, so that she and those she told about Jesus never again had to thirst spiritually.
In the broader context of St. John’s Gospel account, we note well that Jesus speaks about living water flowing from within Him and invites anyone who thirsts to come to Him and anyone who believes in Him to drink (John 7:37-38). And later, after Jesus Himself thirsted on the cross (John 19:28), blood and water flowed from His side (John 19:34). In another writing of St. John’s, that blood and water relates to the overall witness of Jesus’s life (1 John 5:6-8), which can be connected rightly to Holy Baptism and the Sacrament of the Altar, which give the forgiveness of sins Jesus won for all people on the cross.
The water that is God’s gift of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus is certainly free. Already in the Old Testament, God called out through the prophet Isaiah: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Isaiah 55:1.)
In the Revelation that God gave to St. John, the Holy Spirit and the Church say, “Come! Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (Revelation 22:17.) As we receive the life-giving water from Jesus for free, like the Samaritan woman, we freely share it with others!
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.