Bread – Strike

January 8, 2014


Readings for Wednesday, January 8, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Exod. 17:1-7; Col. 1:15-23; John 7:37-52; Psalms 112,113,117,118

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In our reading from Exodus today, the people are complaining about being thirsty and asking Moses why he just didn’t leave them imprisoned in Egypt, where at least they had food and water. Moses goes to God and God says: “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” Exod. 17:6. Moses obeyed God, water flowed, the people drank, and, as they say, the rest is history.

In John, Jesus says “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.

Both passages involve striking, although in the second passage it is implied. It is implied because we know what happens. We know that Jesus died a most horrible death on the cross, prior to which and during which he was stricken with blows, with the whip, with the nails, and with the spear. He was stricken so that those who believe in Him might drink and, having drunk living water, might themselves be the source of living water for others.

Our greatest problem is sin, our rebellion against God, our disbelief in God’s truth and His promises, our desires for ourselves first, our belief that, even if there is a God, so are we, somehow, more or less equal. Our sin makes us thirsty for truth, although we may not often realize that is what we are thirsty for. Because we are thirsty, we complain about our condition. We complain to whoever is available to hear us. We complain to the government, to each other, to our family and friends, to our co-workers, and we complain to God.

So how are we to find water in the parched desert of our existence? How are we to drink.

God’s answer to Moses and to us is to “strike Him.” “No,” you might say, God said strike the rock, not Him. Read the passage more carefully. God was standing before Moses on the rock. To get to the rock, Moses had to strike through God. Moses had to strike God. For all intents and purposes, God was the rock in Exodus. For all intents and purposes, Jesus was the rock in Exodus. To obtain living water, the water necessary for life, God told Moses to strike Him, God. And Moses did so, and water flowed and the people were saved.

To obtain this living water, the water of life, the lesson here is that we must strike God, we must strike Jesus. “How,” you might ask. Well, a simple answer might be to say simply that every time we are disobedient, every time we lie, cheat, steal, swear, eat too much, spend wastefully, curse (you get the point) that we are “striking” Jesus.

But the truth is that we already struck Jesus back 2,000 years ago when we stood with the soldiers who hit Him, and nailed His feet and hands, and stabbed Him. He took those blows, our sins, upon Himself so that, through belief in Him, we might not die for eternity but have everlasting life. We struck Him then and we strike Him now – and what is His response? To gush forth living water for you and me.

When are we going to lay down our arms, drop the lies with which we strike Jesus, and just drink at the well of life? When?

Well, it is a new year. What about right now?

___________________

© 2014 GBF

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