Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” – John 7:38

Last Sunday morning, our Forum featured Mike Rusert, Pastor and Community Curator of Intertwine Northeast, “a spiritual community of practice that makes room for others’ stories.” Mike shared his own story related to water, his earliest memories stemming from the clear, spring-fed lake north of Brainerd where his family’s cabin stands. He spoke of how his own relationship with water and land has changed, largely due to what he has learned from indigenous peoples of Minnesota. (If you weren’t able to attend the Forum, I urge you to watch the recording!) Mike left us with two assignments: First, to reflect on a particular body of water that is significant to us, and second, to say “thank you” to God every time we turn on the tap and receive the water that pours out from it. 

Photo Credit: Debbie Jorgens

I was sitting at the dining room table during Sunday’s Forum, glancing out the window from time to time at the river that runs through the Jorgens’ family farm. Mike’s comment about a river forging its own path resonated with me. In the 30+ years that I’ve been coming to the farm, the width of the river here has widened significantly. Despite our best efforts to prevent the banks from eroding, there is no stopping this river – or any river – from choosing where it will go. But one thing is certain: despite obstacles, it will keep moving until eventually, it flows into another body of water, becoming a force greater than itself. It is amazing to think that the waters of the South Branch of the Little Wolf River that meander through our farm will, after joining one river after another, flow into Green Bay, eastward through the Great Lakes and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean. 

“Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water,” Jesus said. The Holy Spirit works in each of us to be an expression of God’s love in the world, and we can’t underestimate the difference any one person can make. But thanks be to God that the Spirit also works in us collectively, as the Church, to accomplish infinitely more than any one of us could do alone. 

The future holds all kinds of possibilities for Prince of Peace to share the love of Christ in our community and across the world. May we follow the Spirit’s lead, trusting that like the river, we’ll continue to forge ahead despite obstacles, gaining strength and momentum, becoming a force of living water that cannot be contained. 

Thank you, Jesus, for being our source of living water. Fill us with your love so that it flows out from us for the sake of the world that you love so much. Amen.