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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A RELATIONAL GOD OF LOVE, PART 3 Featured

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Fountains and waterfalls have a way of arresting my attention.

I’m mesmerized as I watch an unending stream of water in a fountain bubble up or spray out into a flowing pool with waves rippling out from the center. Or to see water pouring down a mountainside in a never-ending cascade of motion.

A living, flowing, life-giving fountain of water pouring out in perpetual motion. This is a poignant image of who God is as a relational God of love.

Earlier this year our family was on the campus of Western Michigan University for a jazz festival our oldest son participated in with his alto saxophone. As we walked across a central courtyard toward the concert hall, Mikayla, our 10-year-old daughter, glanced at a square, concrete, empty structure on the ground and asked, “Daddy, is that supposed to be a swimming pool?”

“No, that’s a fountain with no water in it. See the small metal heads sticking up. That’s where the water shoots out. They’re not running because it’s still winter.”

“That’s no fun – a fountain with no water!”

What kind of fountain is at the center of our lives?

Every day we all have a choice before us: Are we going to spiritually drink from empty fountains that cannot satisfy? Or are we going to drink from the living water pouring forth from the Triune God – the fountain of love?

Wells of water, flowing springs, and refreshing fountains are significant images throughout the Scriptures that point to the ever-flowing reality of our life-giving God. Take the Gospel of John. It’s soaked throughout with “divine water.”

In one episode, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well as she comes to draw water. Jesus asks her for a drink of water. This could have become a scandalous episode! Meeting alone with a woman at a well is consistently a biblical recipe to find love for marriage.

Instead, this woman discovers the living water of God’s love!

Gently, Jesus reveals to this woman that any earthly water source would leave her thirsting for more. She had gone through five husbands and was now shacking up with her boyfriend. Always looking for love but never finding satisfaction.

“Jesus answered, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would ask him, and he would give you living water…whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.’ ” (John 4:10,14)

Jesus alone satisfies us with the living waters of love flowing from God the Father in the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit.

The prophet Jeremiah compares our empty fountains with the reality of the living God: “For my people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves – cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)

As Jesus was immersed in the flowing waters of the Jordan River, the heavenly voice of the Father and the descending dove of the Spirit unveiled God as the divine Three-in-One Community of Love from whom all life flows. Jesus is the eternal Son who is loved by the Father and who loves the Father within the mutual exchange of the Spirit’s loving presence.

The crowning event in human history that reveals the Triune God’s glory was Jesus’s immersion into our death as he hung in self-giving, sacrificial love on a Roman cross for all humanity – no matter how unlovable. “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him” (John 13:31).

Though Jesus was God in human flesh, “he emptied himself” in love (Philippians 2:7) This wasn’t a mere one-time act by Jesus. This self-emptying, pouring-out in love, given in Jesus, is the clearest glimpse into and the deepest expression of who God eternally is.

God’s glorious and ineffable beauty – before whom the angels cry “Holy, Holy, Holy” – radiates from the mutual self-giving love between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This eternally effervescent sharing of love is God’s nature as “the fountain of living water.” Like all fountains that flow out, so the living water of God’s love always flows and pours out.

This is the why and wherefrom creation exists and flourishes!

Out of his overflow, God’s love poured out like a fountain of life-giving water creating all that lives. Just for the sheer joy-filled glory of giving himself in love, because that’s who he is!

The thrice-holy God is a living, flowing, life-giving fountain of water pouring out in perpetual motion!

This means we live by the unceasing overflow of his love into our lives.

Whenever we seek to drink in ultimate satisfaction, significance, or security from any other source than the Jesus-tap of the Triune God, we’re left empty and dry like the woman at the well. By turning to deceptively-empty fountains, we turn our backs and dam up our hearts, shutting them off from the divine flow of God’s love.

There are many ways we dam up our hearts. Seeking love. Accumulating money. Indulging in pleasure. Achieving success. Pursuing our desires. Reacting in anger.

But no matter how we shut up our hearts, the divine flood of God’s love keeps flowing endlessly, without drying up. “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1) Whatever walls we’ve put up, his relentless love beats against our fortresses of solitude with a vengeance and a wrath to tear them down – however painful it is – so the rushing waters of his love can burst through and flood our hearts with his life-giving presence.

Jesus invited the adulterous woman to drink from him as the well of living water.

Jesus invites us to surrender our lives and drink him in by faith.

The blood and water John saw pouring out from Jesus’s side as he hung dead on the cross for us (John 19:34-35) is a sign of the forgiveness and new life that flows through the empty tomb of his resurrection to us. He burst the barrier of death into life!

“Both the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ Let anyone who hears, say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come. Let the one who desires take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)

You are united to the Jesus-fountain of life-giving Love. Drink him in deeply!

He releases living water in you to “become a well of water springing up…for eternal life.” (John 4:14)

Read 55 times Last modified on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Meet Pastor Chris

  • Hi! My name is Chris Boehnke (a good German name pronounced “Bane-key”). Tracy, my wife, and I have been married for 21 years and God has blessed us with four beautiful children: Joshua (18), Lauren (16), Nathaniel (13), and Mikayla (9). I treasure my wife and family among the greatest gifts God has given me in life. I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska – the heartland of the Midwest – by two loving parents, Don and Linda. I grew up attending a conservative but vibrant Lutheran congregation, while also experiencing excursions into other evangelical and charismatic church environments. This exposed me to a breadth of Christian practice and teaching that has incited me over the years to ask a ton of questions and to seek deeper understanding regarding what “the church” is and what it’s central message, “the Gospel,” is all about. While my interests were in art…

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