The Jesus in John's Gospel is prone to dramatic actions, far more often than in the Synoptics. At the end of the great festival in Jerusalem, on "the great day" when there are throngs of folks around Jesus emits a cry: "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 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.'" Jesus is not really flying under the radar here. And his cry, of course, obtains a strong and rabid response from the leaders of the synagogue. But our Gospel writer gives us Jesus' statement to set up, at the end of today's passage, an example of a heart beginning to overflow with living water: that is Nicodemus' beginning defense of Jesus.
Nicodemus had previously visited with Jesus, at night and in secret, and those tentacles of belief from that visit had started to entwine themselves on his heart. He knew that these bullies who were in charge needed someone to stand up to them, and at peril to his own position in that society, he does just that.
We are asked today to think about where we can direct our own rivers of living water that flow from our hearts. Where can we respond to injustice and oppression thereby changing the world and moving it toward that kingdom Jesus pronounces as "now here"? A large challenge for today, but not one that is impossible for us to respond, as that living water which flows from us does have a force all onto its own, like any flowing river. We just need to set the direction, like any watercraft, into that flowing stream.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Cherry Blossoms on Hanes Point, overlooking the Washington Inlet, jfd+