Suppression

If you had lived in the Roman-occupied Holy Land in 4 BC, you would have known about the Roman general Varus who crushed a Jewish revolt against the Roman authority. The causes of that revolt and later revolts stemmed from several factors: the cruelty and corruption of the Roman leaders, Jewish religious nationalism, the impoverishment of the Jewish peasantry, and the corrupt priesthood class.

Varus sent a part of his army into the country, against those that had been the authors of this commotion, and as they caught great numbers of them, those that appeared to have been the least concerned in these tumults he put into custody, but such as were the most guilty he crucified; these were in number about two thousand. War 2.66-79, Josephus (Emphasis mine.)

Mass crucifixions continued in the first century.

“. . . given that crucifixion was seen as an extremely shameful way to die, Rome tended not to crucify its own citizens. Instead, slaves, disgraced soldiers, Christians, foreigners, and — in particular — political activists often lost their lives in this way.”

Jesus wasn’t the only man to be crucified. Here’s the history behind this brutal practice. | Live Science

4 BC is a time of violent suppression under an unyielding Roman rule. If you said something and acted against that rule, you were crucified to keep order under Roman rule. If you said nothing and lived with the oppression then you were quick to point fingers to keep order for yourselves under Roman rule.

“the citizens received [Jarus] and cleared themselves of having any hand in this revolt, and said that they had raised no commotions, but had only been forced to admit the multitude, because of the festival, and that they were rather besieged together with the Romans, than assisted those that had revolted.”  War 2.73, Josephus

We don’t know the exact year of Jesus’ birth. Most scholars go with 4 BC.

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Mark’s gospel account opens with John the Baptist clearing the way for Jesus with baptisms of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The account immediately turns to Jesus and the start of his ministry. We then read of a growing following and of eye-witnessed accounts about unclean spirts being cast out, the sick being healed, and a dead twelve-year old girl being raised to life. And, we learn of Jesus’ words and their impact on local communities as they were heard in the synagogue.

Jesus’s teaching was met with astonishment (Mk. 1:22): “he wasn’t like the legal teachers; he says things on his own authority”.

Later, when Jesus returned to his home region for a time and on the sabbath taught in the synagogue, his words were again met with astonishment (Mk. 6:2). And also, with consternation.

“Where does he get it all from?” they said. “What’s this wisdom he’s been given? How does he get this kind of power in his hands? Isn’t he the handyman, Mary’s son? Isn’t he the brother of James, Joses, Judah and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” They took offense at him. (Mk. 6:1-3)

Then we read that Jesus “couldn’t do any remarkable thing there, except he laid hands on a few sick people and cured them. Their unbelief dumbfounded him”. (Mk. 6: 5-6)

Earlier in the gospel account, Jesus’ relatives, hearing about the growing crowds and excitement surrounding Jesus, came to restrain him. “He’s out of his mind,” they said (Mk. 3:21). Experts from Jerusalem also showed up and tried to discredit him, labeling the source of Jesus’ power as demonic. Jesus dealt with them in no uncertain terms (Mk.3: 22-27).

In these accounts we see the attempted suppression of Jesus by his family, his community and by religious authorities. His family dubs him crazy and tries to rein him in from bringing more unwanted attention to them. His hometown community takes offense, perhaps thinking “You are uppity talking like that, saying things on your own authority. You’re one of us. Get with the program. Don’t make waves. Fit in and makes us happy that we can be around you.” The religious authorities started a smear campaign.

Undoubtedly, the locals feared antagonizing Roman authorities which could then lead to arrest and possible crucifixion. And just as undoubtedly, the religious leaders from Jerusalem, mediators between Rome and the Jewish population, wanted to keep the peace and their positions. They feared a newcomer, extraordinary in word and deed, upsetting their apple cart. They began a program of misinformation about Jesus.

The push to silence and discredit Jesus and his astonishing words and deeds led to unbelief that conformed to the world around. And that led to the suppression of the remarkable in Jesus’ local community.

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Right after this, in Mark chapter 6, we read that Jesus goes around to villages teaching. Suppression tactics do not stop his kingdom work. Jesus sends out the Twelve in pairs to expand his ministry. The twelve were chosen for this reason (Mk. 3:13-14).

“They went off and announced that people should repent. They cast out several demons; and they anointed many sick people with oil, and cured them.” (Mk. 6:12-13).

And then we read that Jesus’ name became well know and reached the ears of the King (Mk.6: 14).

(This king, Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, was the son and a successor of Herod the Great the Roman client king of Judea until his death in 4 BC. And though Herod the Great had a religion of Second Temple Judaism, he lived with extreme paranoia that resulted in terror:

Herod the Great was a brutal man who killed his father-in-law, several of his ten wives, and two of his sons. He ignored the laws of God to suit himself and chose the favor of Rome over his own people. Herod’s heavy taxes to pay for lavish projects forced an unfair burden on the Jewish citizens.)

When Herod Antipas heard about Jesus he said “It’s John the Baptist, risen from the dead! That’s why these powers are at work in him.” (Mk. 6:14).

Mark goes on to relate what happened to John the Baptist:

“Herod had married Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. John regularly told Herod it wasn’t right for him to take his brother’s wife; so, Herod gave the word, arrested him, and tied him up in prison.” (Mk.6:17-18).

Herodias, not at all happy with John saying these things, wanted him dead, but Herod wouldn’t let that happen. Herod was afraid of John because he considered John “a just and holy man”. And, Herod would come down to John’s cell and listen to him talk. “What he heard disturbed him greatly, and yet he enjoyed listening to him” (Mk.6: 20).

Now, you know the story of Herod’s birthday and the great party attended by his supporters, military officers and the great and good of Galilee. Herodias’s daughter dances and wows the crowd and the birthday boy. What Herod saw moved him greatly. He enjoyed watching her dance. So, he offers to give the girl a gift to match the wow of her dance.

When Herod hears the girl’s gift request, he becomes panic-stricken, perhaps thinking “This is a holy man. You don’t mess with that. People like him you keep around and under control . . . and there goes the one voice that moved me to distraction.

Herod had made oaths to give her a wow gift in front of his guests. And, “He hadn’t the guts to refuse her” (Mk.6:26). So, John was beheaded.

In this account we read of suppression of John the Baptist on account of what he was saying in public. He was locked up to control the PR surrounding Herod’s immoral marriage to his brother’s wife Herodias. In jail, John didn’t remain silent. And Herod, whose father Herod the Great was into Second Temple Judaism, thought the abrasive John a curious figure to be observed, perhaps like a woman’s sensual dance.

Herod hears about Jesus doing astonishing things and that he’s a just and holy man. He reckons John the Baptist has been resurrected.  (Now what have I done?”)

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“Two particular details about Roman crucifixion are of special interest to us in this book. First, it would not be much of an exaggeration to say that Jesus of Nazareth grew up under the shadow of the cross…The Galilee of Jesus’ boyhood, then, all knew about Roman crosses (Antiquities 17.286-98; War 2.66-79)…When he told his followers to pick up their crosses and follow him, they would not have heard this as a metaphor…The second point of special interest for us is the way in which the Romans sometimes used crucifixion as a way of mocking a victim with social or political pretensions. “You want to be high and lifted up?” they said in effect. “All right, we’ll give you ‘high and lifted up.’” Crucifixion thus meant not only killing by slow torture, not only shaming, not only issuing a warning, but also parodying the ambitions of the uppity rebels. They wanted to be move up the social scale?  Let them be lifted up above the common herd…”

-from the chapter The Cross in Its First-Century Setting, N.T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution

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Psychology defines suppression as pushing unwanted thoughts, emotions, memories, fantasies, and more out of conscious awareness so that you’re not thinking of these things anymore.

In 4 BC terms, suppression would include dealing with people who are seen as a threat to the system and who annoy and make certain people feel uncomfortable. Such people were mocked, scourged, and put on display for the public’s conscious awareness.

Forms of suppression from 4 BC to the present have included public derision, impalement, death by burning, crucifixion, labeling, canceling, shadow banning, blocking, misinformation campaigns, repeating lies, criminalizing dissent, fines, gag orders, persecution, false charges, arrest, and imprisonment.

What makes the world godless and by what means?

Suppressing the existing facts of reality and the established facts of truth makes the world godless.

In your search for truth . . .

Does your theology suppress science so you don’t have to deal with thinking about science?

Does your science suppress any thought of God so you don’t have to deal with messy, uncomfortable thoughts and emotions?

Does your political view suppress facts as long as there are enough people going along with lies and half-truths?

Is crucifixion the ultimate suppression?

No. See the empty tomb. Unbelief is the ultimate suppression.

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This Easter Please Remember The Jan 6ers and Their Families Who Have Been Severely Abused by Federal Judges in Washington DC | The Gateway Pundit | by Joe Hoft

The Easter Please Remember Mathew Perna and All of the Men and Women Persecuted by the Biden DOJ from Jan 6 | The Gateway Pundit | by Joe Hoft

El Salvador’s President . . .

*****

“Obedient even to death . . . yes, even the death of the cross”

 

 

“…I’m telling you the solemn truth: unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains all by itself. If it dies, though, it will produce lots of fruit…

…Now my heart is troubled,” Jesus went on. “What am I going to say? ‘Father, save me from this moment’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.”

 

 

Crucifixion Nikolai Ge

Cross Purposes

You and I are inundated by narratives day and night. We are implored to spend our time, money, and allegiance in response to them. Their goads come at us through the mail, and via emails, radio, TV, and social media. Here are only a few of their associated rallying cries:

“Today Only!” “Act Now!” “Call Now!” “Last day to act!” “Crisis into opportunity!” “Doing nothing is not an option!” “Let’s get it done this year.” “We must move beyond climate talk to climate action.” . . . And there is, of course, The Great Reset’s pervasive “Build Back Better!” (bidding us to become the bricks and mortar of the Globalist’s Tower of Babel.)

The pressure to surrender and conform to narratives can be as manipulative as it is intense. The pressure is especially persuasive when a long-standing narrative fuels pressure to have a defining moment enacted. To wit, Palm Sunday and the so-called “triumphal entry”.

In terms of the gospel according to Mark, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, though taking on a “triumphal” and precursive tone, was anti-climactic. There was no takeover, no ousting of Roman rule, and no fire coming down upon the unrighteous.

Jesus entered Jerusalem, went into the temple, and looked all around. It was already getting late, and he returned to Bethany with the twelve. (Mk. 11: 11)

Those who had lined the road up to Jerusalem and had shouted “Hosanna in the Highest” did so out of the highest hopes. Along with the palm branches, they held expectations of a “Messianic Apocalypse”:

. . . for the heavens and the earth will listen to His [God’s] messiah . . . [and all w]hich is in them shall not turn away from the commandments of the Holy Ones. Strengthen yourselves, O you who seek the Lord, in his service! Will you not find the Lord in this, all those who hope in their heart? . . .

These words, from the Qumran text 4Q521 dubbed “Messianic Apocalypse”, were written some 100 years before Jesus. I wonder. Did the people go home that night and ask each other “What’s up with that guy? Why doesn’t he get with the program?” They would have had their reasons for asking.

Second Temple period Jews were experiencing a cultural crisis. Under the rule of a Seleucid (Greek-Syrian) king named Antiochus IV Epiphanes (“god manifest”), that began in 175 BC, the Jews had been under tremendous pressure to conform to Hellenistic culture.

(Note: the apocalyptic visions recorded in the latter chapters of Daniel (7-12) were written in response to the ongoing Jewish persecutions (167-164 BCE) by Mr. “god manifest”. The chapters can be dated toward the end of the Maccabean revolt (see below).

Antiochus did all he could to push his cultural narrative onto the Jews. He plundered the temple, erected an altar for Zeus Olympus in the Jerusalem temple and sacrificed to Greek gods. Traditional practices of Judaism were outlawed.

Many Jews at that time were greatly concerned about the growing assimilation to Hellenism and its gods. While some Jews went along with the cultural change, others revolted against it.

The Maccabean revolt was the armed resistance. Mattathias, a priest, and his sons Judas Maccabeus, Jonathon, Simon, John, and Eleazar led the resistance.  Under Simon, Judea and Jerusalem achieved political independence for a time – the yoke of the Gentiles was removed from Israel (1 Maccabees 13:41-42)

After purifying the temple of foreign elements, Simon led a procession of those playing musical instruments and hymn singers waving palm branches into the temple. This much abbreviated version of second temple times sets the stage for Palm Sunday. You get a feel for what the people were thinking about Jesus.

Jesus entered a Jerusalem under Roman rule. The accounts of the Maccabean revolt, Simon’s “triumphal entry”, and the Messianic Apocalypse stoked imaginations that day. The crowd wanted Jesus to be the fulfillment of their Messianic hopes.

Jesus had encountered similar pressure to conform to the long-standing narrative – the advent of the Messiah – several times before.

When Jesus began to teach his disciples something new – there’s big trouble in store for the son of man – Peter did not hear Jesus conforming to the ‘popular’ messiah narrative. Sure, there had been trouble before. But this? . . .

There’s big trouble in store for the son of man. The elders, the chief priests, and the scribes are going to reject him. He will be killed – and after three days he’ll be raised. He said this all quite explicitly. (Mk. 8: 31-32)

Moments before Jesus said this, Peter had boldly declared Jesus to be the Messiah (Mk. 8:29). Clinging to a notion of the messiah as a formidable political and spiritual power and projecting onto Jesus that notion, Peter rebuked Jesus for saying things that took the wind out of the narrative he and others had been floating.

Jesus forcefully replied to Peter’s cross purposes:

Get behind me, Accuser! You’re thinking human thoughts, not God’s thoughts.

The renunciation of man’s narrative brings to mind Mark 1: 13. There, we read that Jesus went into the desert for forty days and was tested by Satan’s narrative.

Satan wanted Jesus to be the Messiah – a compromised, self-promoting, and self-advancing Messiah. He wanted the Jesus to be the Messiah the people wanted and not the Messiah the people needed.

Jesus had a growing number of people following him. Why not take advantage of the populist surge and clean house and become a hero? As before, there would be processions honoring a conquering hero. “‘C’mon, fulfill your destiny!” “The time is ripe.” “Act now!” “Build back better!”

Good Friday and Easter. We find out Jesus’ Cross Purpose. We find out why, though dealing with enormous opposition, he did not surrender to the pressure or conform to narratives and to cross-purposes. We are admonished to carry on the same way by considering his example:

We must look ahead, to Jesus. He is the one who carved out the path for faith, and he’s the one who brought it to completion.

He knew that there was joy spread out and waiting for him. That’s why he endured the cross, making light of its shame, and now has taken his seat at the right hand of God’s throne. He put up with enormous opposition from sinners. Weigh up in your minds just how severe it was; then you won’t find yourselves getting weary and worn out. -Hebrews 12: 2-3

Next, we’ll look at the gospel record of Jesus countering narratives and settling debates using “God’s thoughts”. We’ll also take a look at conformity.

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“We need an army to rise up,” he said. “We need people to stand up and not comply. We need a civil rights awakening again, noncompliance like Martin Luther King, Jr.” Our guests are: Rabbi Spero, Rudy Giuliani, Pastor Artur Pawlowski, John Brakey

HOSHIANA Once and for All

sacrificial love

Wait Here and Watch

After saying these things, Jesus went forth with his disciples beyond the torrent of Cedron, where there was a garden…” (John 18:1) “According to his custom” adds Luke.

“And they came to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I pray.’ And he took with him Peter James and John, and began to feel dread and to be exceedingly troubled. And he said to them, My soul is sad, even unto death. Wait here and watch.’…”

A terrible sadness overcomes our Lord ~ sadness “unto death” says the Holy Scripture. Then Jesus tells also the three to wait~perhaps they are surprised to hear him say they should watch with him; it is probably the first time he has ever asked them to. Alone, he advances a few paces, falls on his face and prays…

 jesus-in-gethsemane

What does faith tell us? Before all else who this man is there on his knees – the Son of God in the simplest sense of the word. For that reason he sees existence in its ultimate reality.

 Wherever we encounter Jesus, it is as the Knowing One, as he who knows about man and world. All others are blind; only his eyes are all-seeing, and they see through to the very ground of human depravity.  The forlornness Jesus beholds there embraces the whole of human existence.  And he does not see it as one who has broken through to spiritual health and clarity with the help of grace.  Jesus’ knowledge of sin is not like that of fallen mankind;  he knows about it as God knows – hence the awful transparency of that knowledge.

Hence the immeasurable loneliness.  He is really the Seer among the blind, sole sensitive one among beings who lost their touch, the only free and self-possessed one in the midst of general confusion.

 Jesus’ consciousness of the world’s corruption is not grounded in the world and therefore the prisoner of existence.  It springs from above, from God, and enfolds the whole globe, seeing as God sees:  around existence, through existence, outwards from existence.  Moreover, Jesus’ divine consciousness, before which everything is stripped and lucid, is not extrinsic, but intrinsic, realized in his living self.  He knows with his human intellect, feels the world’s forlornness with his human heart.  And, the sorrow of it, incapable of ripping the eternal God from his bliss, becomes in Christ’s human soul unutterable agony.  From this knowledge comes a terrible and unrelenting earnestness, knowledge that underlies every word he speaks and everything he does.  It pulses through his whole being and proclaims itself in the least detail of his fate.  Here lies the root of Christ’s inapproachable loneliness. What human understanding and sympathy could possibly reach into this realm in which the Savior shoulders alone the yoke of the world?  From this point of view Jesus was always a sufferer, and would have been one even if men had accepted his message of faith and love; even if salvation had been accomplished and the kingdom established alone by proclamation and acceptance, sparing him the bitter way of the cross.  Even then, his whole life would have been inconceivably painful, for he would have been constantly aware of the world sin in the sight of a God he knew to be holy and all love; and he would have borne this terrible and inaccessible knowledge alone.  In the hour of Gethsemane its ever-present pain swells to a paroxysm.

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Selections from the chapter Gethsemane, from the The Lord by Romano Guardini

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Lord, I will wait and watch with you this day.

“I Am Thirsty”

“I am thirsty.” These words spoken just before Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross reveal the need for life’s most basic requirement:  life-sustaining water for the body and the soul.

 The crucifixion’s slow and agonizing death with its depletion of bodily fluids would cause a human body to dehydrate to the point of suffocation.  The blood pouring from the Lord’s hands and feet and from His lash wounds would deprive His body of its normal blood flow, blood flow which carried necessary oxygen to all of the body’s organs. Water was desperately needed. Instead, Jesus was mockingly offered a sponge soaked with wine which had turned. After tasting it he rejected the old wine and its numbing effects.

 “I am thirsty” indicates the Lord’s need for water but more importantly these words also reveal that the Living Water, God the Holy Spirit, was also leaving the Lord at this point in time.  Because Jesus bore the sins of the world He could not have fellowship with His Father and the Holy Spirit until His work of atonement was complete.  Until then The Trinitarian Well of eternal fellowship was cut off from the Son of God.  In place of this Well, Jesus chose to drink from the bitter cup of God’s will.

 King David prophesied about the relational and physical torment that the Messiah was to suffer on the cross.  From Psalm 22:

 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
   Why are you so far from saving me,
   so far from my cries of anguish?
 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
   by night, but I find no rest….

I am poured out like water,
   and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
   it has melted within me.
 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
   and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
   you lay me in the dust of death.

 In this act of substitutionary atonement the Lord’s body bore all the sin of all men for all time.  On the cross Jesus rapidly became depleted from loss of fluid and, as Psalm 22 tells us, from the loss of Living Water –  Jesus was forsaken by the Father and the Spirit.  “Because he poured out Himself to death” Jesus became as a barren desert, a desolate place with no water.  He was made sin for us. 

John’s Gospel account offers the Creator’s context for the words “I am thirsty.”

 In the gospel narrative the apostle John relates the true story of Jesus meeting a woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well. 

 The well and the field surrounding it were gifts from Jacob to Joseph.  And you will remember Joseph. He is the one who received good gifts from his father (the coat) and bad treatment from his brothers. I have no doubt that the well was, well, well-known to many who traveled though the area.  I’m sure it was on the map of those seeking to quench their thirst, thirst brought about by the day’s relentless heat.  John’s account tells us that as Jesus was traveling from one place to another he became tired and thirsty. He stopped outside the town of Sychar at the well to rest.

 As Jesus sat down near the edge of the well he told his disciples to go and get some food in the nearby town. It is midday. The sun is directly overhead and the heat is stifling. Jesus had no means of retrieving the water from the well. You can imagine someone being thirstier when they know that water is just out of reach.

 As Jesus sits resting a woman from the town of Sychar approaches the well carrying her clay jar (I am assuming some things here.).  The woman comes to the well in the middle of the day because, I believe, no one else will be there during the hottest part of the day. She has her reasons for not wanting to be around the other women of the town:  she sleeps around.

 Jesus, thirsty, asks the woman for a drink:  “Will you give me a drink?”

 The woman was at a loss as to what to think:

 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

From the gospel account:

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

  Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (emphasis mine)

  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

  He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

  “I have no husband,” she replied.

   Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

  “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

(Note:  The woman, like most of us, wanted to deflect the accounting of her sinful life.  Becoming polemical the woman quickly changed the subject and pressed Jesus about a heated religious and geopolitical issue of the day.)

Jesus, having already gotten the woman’s attention by recounting intimate details of her life, responded to her question about true and valid worship as the Source, the well-spring of Truth.

    “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

  The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

  Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

Water flows through John’s gospel.  John the Baptist baptized “with water so that He (Jesus) might be revealed by Israel.  In the above passage we learn about Jesus chatting with a woman as he sits next to a well. There He talks about the everlasting living water which wells up inside you if you accept it.  In a previous passage John recorded Jesus’s first sign:  turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana.  In the passage after the Jacob’s well story John tells us about a lame man who had been trying for thirty years to enter the healing pool in Bethesda.  The water of the pool would bubble up with curative power whenever the Spirit stirred it. But the man had his excuses for not being well. In a later passage John recounts Jesus walking on the water to meet the disciples in the middle of a lake.

Then one time …

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (emphasis mine)

Are you thirsty? Are you trying to quench your deepest thirst with the things of this world, things that quickly run ‘dry’ from everyday use?  Do more clothes, more electronic gadgets, more Facebook friends, more entertainments, more tattoos, more tipping points, more of anything this world has to offer satisfy your deepest thirst?

The woman at the well had her life of men.  She had her connections.  She also had her water bucket.  She brought this bucket to the well everyday to get the water she needed to survive.  The woman could argue religion and politics with the best of them but she was thirsting for something more.  She may have wondered “is that all there is?”  Is that all that life has to offer someone like me, a woman of Samaria marginalized by my own community and holding on to an unsure belief in an object of worship others are telling me to believe in.

Unknowingly, it was of the True Well of Life that she made her request:  “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jesus responded:  If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

We know that drinking water is necessary for life.  We listen closely to health programs that tell us to drink several glasses of water a day to sustain our bodies, to help them function properly and to replenish the oxygen our systems need. As you would imagine the quality of water that you drink is critical.  Undoubtedly, water that contains filth would do more harm than good.  Is the well water you are drinking clean and pure, refreshing and restorative?  Or, is it filthy with parasites making you weak and sick?

The water that Jesus offers to you and me is greater and purer than the most abundant compound found on earth:  H2O.  It is the Living Water of the Holy Spirit.  This water teems with Abundant Life, the very oxygen of heaven. Once received its Spirit-life effervescence bubbles up within a person.  It then overflows your spirit and converges with the rivers of Living Water that have never stopped flowing throughout all of eternity except for that dark hour when the Gift of God Himself was poured out as a drink offering and He cried, “I am thirsty.”

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Shechem’s Archaeology

Gethsemane

 

What does faith tell us? Before all else who this man is there on his knees – the Son of God in the simplest sense of the word. For that reason he sees existence in its ultimate reality.

 Wherever we encounter Jesus, it is as the Knowing One, as he who knows about man and world. All others are blind; only his eyes are all-seeing, and they see through to the very ground of human depravity.  The forlornness Jesus beholds there embraces the whole of human existence.  And he does not see it as one who has broken though to spiritual health and clarity with the help of grace.  Jesus’ knowledge of sin is not like that of fallen mankind;  he knows about it as God knows – hence the awful transparency of that knowledge.

Hence the immeasurable loneliness.  He is really the Seer among the blind, sole sensitive one among beings who lost their touch, the only free and self-possessed one in the midst of general confusion.

 Jesus’ consciousness of the world’s corruption is not grounded in the world and therefore the prisoner of existence.  It springs from above, from God, and enfolds the whole globe, seeing as God sees:  around existence, through existence, outwards from existence.  Moreover, Jesus’ divine consciousness, before which everything is stripped and lucid, is not extrinsic, but intrinsic, realized in his living self.  He knows with his human intellect, feels the world’s forlornness with his human heart.  And, the sorrow of it, incapable of ripping the eternal God from his bliss, becomes in Christ’s human soul unutterable agony.  From this knowledge comes a terrible and unrelenting earnestness, knowledge that underlies every word he speaks and everything he does.  It pulses through his whole being and proclaims itself in the least detail of his fate.  Here lies the root of Christ’s inapproachable loneliness. What human understanding and sympathy could possibly reach into this realm in which the Savior shoulders alone the yoke of the world?  From this point of view Jesus was always a sufferer, and would have been one even if men had accepted his message of faith and love; even if salvation had been accomplished and the kingdom established alone by proclamation and acceptance, sparing him the bitter way of the cross.  Even then, his whole life would have been inconceivably painful, for he would have been constantly aware of the world sin in the sight of a God he knew to be holy and all love; and he would have borne this terrible and inaccessible knowledge alone.  In the hour of Gethsemane its ever-present pain swells to a paroxysm.

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Selection from the chapter Gethsemane, in the book The Lord by Romano Guardini