When I was growing up, I spent my summers on what we called my grandmother’s “farm,” but it was actually her orchard because she had sold off most of her land following my grandfather’s death. The orchard was a slice of heaven on earth. At least this is the way I choose to remember it.
When I was young, staying at the orchard was dirty, sweaty, backbreaking, and exhausting work. On really hot summer days, there were times I felt like I was going to collapse. But at the edge of the orchard, right in the yard outside the farmhouse, stood an old cast-iron pump. I would grab a tin cup, scoop up some water sitting in the pail beneath the spout, prime the impeller, and begin pumping the handle. A faraway vacuum sound followed by a rising gurgle preceding a gush of ice-cold, clear, sparkling, refreshing water. I still remember the chill and goosebumps the cold water brought to my warm body. It was as wonderful a visceral, physical experience as I can remember from my entire childhood. When I hear the phrase from Isaiah, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation,” the pump at my grandmother’s farm comes to mind. What an amazing image! Drawing the very water of life from the well of salvation. Immersing one’s hands and face and very being in the abundant wellspring of God’s love and grace. Receiving in an ever-flowing stream the freely given redemption and acceptance of God.
When we are tired, hot, and weary, God’s grace restores our souls and refreshes our spirits. Too often we allow ourselves to become dehydrated in our faith. How deep is the well from which we draw? God supplies all we need to thrive, even in the most difficult times, even when we feel we cannot make it on our own.
Wellspring of faith and hope and love, we know that you will supply us with the water of your salvation. Amen.
This week we read two passages from the prophet Isaiah. In the first, God promises a total restoration, a new heaven and a new earth— a theme repeated in Revelation 21. The new Jerusalem will be filled with joy and prosperity. Isaiah 12 offers thanksgiving to God for the gift of salvation. The praise of God will be proclaimed among many nations. In the epistle, Paul chastises a lazy faction among the Thessalonians. This passage has been misapplied as teaching against providing assistance to the poor, but Paul’s target is not the poor; it is those who can provide for themselves but fail to do so because they say they are too focused on waiting for Jesus. In Luke, Jesus foretells future turmoil for Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans.
Read Isaiah 65:17-25. How can you play a part in Isaiah’s vision for God’s people? When do you have to accept that only God can usher in this vision? How do you know the difference between these two situations?
Read Isaiah 12. How can your words be life-changing for others?
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13. Who has mentored you in the faith? How has their guidance helped you grow?
Read Luke 21:5-19. How do you speak the truth of Jesus to those who say the end is near?
Respond by posting a prayer.