Water is a foundational element for life on Earth and it also happens to be the theme in our readings this week. The people of Israel complain about not having water in the desert so Moses strikes a rock and they have water to drink. God pours out his Spirit like water into our hearts so that we can rejoice in our sufferings and Jesus shares living water with the people in Samaria.
Old Testament: Exodus 17:1--7
Epistle: Romans 5:1--8
Gospel: John 4:5--26 (27--30, 39--42)
In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today is from Romans 6:1-5 which reads:
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
Water is such a powerful substance. We need water to live. Without water we can become dehydrated, get sick and eventually die. People, plants, and animals all need water to survive. However, water isn’t simply a life giving substance, but it is also a life destroying substance. We simply need to recall Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy and the subsequent flooding that took place after these storms that killed so many people. Drowning can happen in as little water as fills a bathtub in your home or as much as is in the ocean.
It shouldn’t come as much surprise then when God choses such a powerful substance with connections to both life and death as what he uses for our spiritual life and death. God takes water and combines it with his word and gives us the wonderful gift of Baptism.
Paul writes about this great gift in our reading for today. Romans 6 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It is my favorite because it so clearly explains the life of a Christian and what happens in Baptism. Paul tells us that when we are baptized that we are connected to Christ Jesus’ death on the cross. God uses the water of baptism to kill us. He has to kill us because death is the punishment for sin and we are all sinners. But just like water can both kill and provide life, God uses the water of baptism to raise us from the dead to newness of life.
This newness of life doesn’t mean that you can just do whatever you want and commit whatever sins you want because you know that you’ll be forgiven. Rather, since we have been killed and raised from the dead we live our lives loving God and loving our neighbors. Now, whether you were baptized 70 minutes ago or 70 years ago, this baptismal identity is as fresh and wet on you as the moment it happened. You are a baptized child of God! You are forgiven! Go and love God and serve your neighbor!
Let us pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for using water and your word to kill us and bring us to life. Help us to daily live in our baptismal identity as your sons and daughters and to joyfully respond in our faith toward you and our love toward one another. We ask all of this in Jesus’ name, Amen
My name is Tom. I'm fascinated by the ways that people, ideas, current events and theology interact with each other.