Reflections: Sunday the First Week of Pentecost

May 28, 2023

Today’s Reading: John 7:37-39

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 21:10-35, Luke 22:1-23

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. There are certain things in life that are meant to go together, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or bacon and, well, just about anything. And if this is true with some of our favorite things in the kitchen, imagine how much greater it is in Holy Scripture. 

There are many things in God’s Word that are meant to go together. Law and Gospel. God’s gifts of Word and Sacraments. Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The cross and the Christian life. The list could go on. 

Here in John 7, Jesus reveals another one of Scripture’s  sacred combinations, the Holy Spirit and water. This connection between God the Holy Spirit and water goes back to creation. In the beginning, in Genesis 1, the Spirit hovered over the waters as God began his creating work. Fast forward to the beginning of the four gospels and once again, you water and the Holy Spirit, as the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus at His baptism in the Jordan River. 

In John 7, Jesus is at the Feast of Booths – the Old Testament feast remembering Israel’s wilderness wandering and living in tents -Jesus joins brings water and the Holy Spirit together again. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 

John tells us that  Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit who would be  poured out at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit who dwells with believers. The Holy Spirit who calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies you in Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is the same Holy Spirit Jesus gives you, and who in turn, gives you Jesus. Jesus makes this connection personal. He takes water and His Holy Spirit and gives them both to you in your Baptism.

Remember the words spoken at your Baptism,  as the living water of the Holy Spirit and water were poured over you. I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. There it is again. Water and the Holy Spirit. Jesus joins them together so that you would be joined together with Him forever. For you, our Lord brings together the greatest combination of all, water and the Holy Spirit to forgive, save, rescue, wash, and restore you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and to evermore rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Day of Pentecost) 

Pastor Samuel Schuldheisz is Pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA

Audio Reflections Speaker: Jonathan Lackey is an LCMS seminarian.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.