PROCESSIONAL: Thy Word
CALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: We've come to worship God who makes streams flow from rock.
ALL: Who turns the parched earth into springs of water.
ONE: Who sends the rain from heaven
ALL: and makes the wilderness blossom and flourish.
ONE: As the deer thirsts for flowing streams, so we thirst for You, 0 God.
ALL: Come, let's worship our life-giving God, who pours our living water on all who thirst.
OPENING PRAYER & THE LORD'S PRAYER: In the dry wilderness of our lives, in the days of heat and thirst, You offer us living water. When we begin to doubt Your presence, and grumble that Your love is unreliable, You offer us living water. When life's regrets and the bad choices we have made leave us feeling excluded and unworthy, you offer us living water. When circumstances, or the inhumanity of others have left us alone and wounded, you offer us living water.
We thank You and praise You, 0 God, that however we may thirst,
whatever we may need to satisfy our souls, you offer it freely and abundantly in Christ. So we drink deep of the living water and, as we draw from Your wells, we seek to pass the cup to others who, like us, are thirsty for Your grace. And now, as Jesus taught us, let us pray together: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 12
Offertory Prayer: God is our source, our unending supply. With these gifts we carry our gratitude into action. God's blessings flow through us
and fill our world. We give and we live with absolute joy. Amen.
SPECIAL MUSIC: Therefore With Joy Shall Ye Draw Water — Nancy & Gord
MEDITATION: Living Water
We have all heard the pearls of wisdom found in sayings, such as "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," or "Take time to smell the roses," and "Silence is golden." There is one saying in particular that is relevant to this morning's subject: "You will never miss the water until the well runs dry."
Living in Ormstown, we know about being without water. The infrastructure is old and pipes are always breaking. The water is often brown and slimy, undrinkable and not suitable for bathing, doing laundry or washing the dishes.
When dirt gets in the water, it is no longer pure and good to drink.
When there is no water readily available, it is very upsetting. Imagine the people living in places where there are droughts with no hope of water coming any time soon. We complain if we're without for a day or two, but there are others in this world who are dying from lack of clean water.
We all know that a well is a deep hole or shaft sunk into the ground to obtain water. A cistern is a reservoir, tank or container of some kind designed for storing or holding water. Water is a necessary part of life. We drink it, we use it to bathe, to clean our clothes, dishes and other items. We need water in order to make things grow. Water is very valuable to us all.
Over 2000 years ago, people were asking and wondering what God did for people. So God sent Jesus Christ to try to explain to them and answer their questions about God. One of the things Christ said was, "I am the living water."
What was Jesus telling us when He said that?
Many people believe that Jesus actually is the living water. But Jesus
Himself intended the phrase to mean the Holy Spirit who lives in believers and seals them for salvation. It's the ministry of the Spirit, flowing out of a heart redeemed by God that blesses believers and brings life and light to the world.
God wants us to have the means to refresh ourselves when we get tired
or overwhelmed. We use water to cool ourselves when we get too hot, and to warm ourselves when we get too cold. We use water to irrigate the land to help make things grow. We use water to keep our body and other things clean.
Water does all these things. God wants to help the world grow to be good, strong, wholesome people. And what helps things grow? Water.
I wonder how we would feel if all of a sudden God took all things
Christian out of this world. Things like churches, schools, hospitals, peace, love and kindness. There are so many good things in this world, but we must never substitute them for God, anymore than we would substitute anything for water.
Perfume is a good thing — it has a nice, sweet smell. But if you tried to
clean your face with it every day, it would only make your face sore. If you were to drink perfume, it would make you sick, or perhaps even kill you. If you were to spray the garden with perfume, it would kill the plants, flowers and grass — not because perfume is bad, but because perfume is not used for these things — water is.
That's much the way it is with Christ and religion. Religion is the thing with which God has provided us so we may cleanse our lives and refresh and strengthen ourselves. Let's not use substitutes and let's not let the well become filled with dirt or let it run dry.
There are six ways we can drink of the living water. These six ways are
given in the scripture we read this morning from Isaiah 12:3-6. We can drink the living water by thanking God. We can thank Him for anything and everything. Every time we utter thanks to Him, we drink the living water. It's like taking a drink from a refreshing well. We are watered and revived.
The next way to drink is to call upon the Lord's name. We can call on His name throughout the day just by saying "Oh Lord" or "Lord, I love You." Each time we call His name out loud, we drink of the living water. We can also drink by making Christ's deeds known among people.
Perhaps we feel parched because we haven't talked to anyone about Christ. But when we do, we are taking a drink and are watered and refreshed by the living water.
We can also tell people that Christ's name is exalted. Even our own
personal exalting of Jesus' name when seen or heard by others, will remind them that His is the highest name. When we tell others that Jesus is Lord, we drink living water from the well of Salvation.
Opening our mouth and singing hymns to the Lord is one of the best ways to drink from the Fountain of Living Water. As we sing, the fountain begins to well up in us, even to the point of overflowing. The more we sing with our hearts to the Lord, the more watered and refreshed we'll be.
We can drink the water of life by crying out and giving a ringing shout. We can cry out to praise and thank the Lord. "Praise the Lord. You are so good.
I love You, Lord Jesus!" When we cry out like this to the Lord, we get saved from all the thoughts in our mind and take a deep drink of the life-giving Spirit as the water of life.
You can practice these six ways to drink every day. Whenever you feel
spiritually parched, you can try thanking God, calling on His name, speaking about Christ to someone, telling another that Jesus is Lord and that His name is the highest, and singing with your heart to the Lord, or crying out and giving a ringing shout.
Let us pray: The well is so deep and the water is so far away from our
parched hands, our parched throats and our parched souls. Drawing,
consuming, repeated drawing, repeated thirsting, drawing again! God, only You can break this cycle of filling our souls with things that can never fully satisfy. Lead us to the living water of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and quench the thirsting of our souls. Amen.
If a spring has not been opened in a soul, a spring of living water from God's own Son, no waters can flow and there is no life in you.
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN: Drink deeply of the waters of Salvation and quench your thirst for truth, for the Lord is with you. Go in God's peace and bring good news to all you meet.
" If a spring has not been opened in a soul, a spring of living water from God's own Son, no waters can flow and there is no life in you." G.V. Wigram
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