This is the message I shared at Lions Legend Park here in Franklin this past Saturday, July 23rd:
Hello everyone. What a week! It sure has been a hot outside, hasn’t it? Thankfully a cold front moved in yesterday and we’ve enjoyed a brisk 85 degrees out here today ;) But what do people always say you should do when it’s hot outside? “Make sure you drink lots of...water. Stay hydrated.”
Because what happens when you don’t get enough water? Two weeks ago, runners in Summerfest’s 1st annual Rock ‘N Sole run found out the hard way. 20 runners were taken to the hospital and 50 received emergency medical attention because they didn’t have enough water. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said: "The half-marathon and 10K race turned into a full-fledged emergency when early hydration stations ran out of water and cups. Runners started collapsing in the humid 85-degree heat, and some were unable to get immediate help because of a lack of medical aid stations. No medical aid was available on the 2.5-mile-long Hoan Bridge."
That’s what happens when people are running in the heat and they don’t get any water. It’s pretty serious. And I wouldn’t want to make light of that, yet isn’t it just a bit ironic that those runners didn’t have enough water as they were running over the Hoan Bridge even though in plain sight was one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world? That’s not to say I'd ordinarily want to drink untreated Lake Michigan water especially since they say we shouldn't even swim in it sometimes during the summer! But nevertheless all that water, right there, and yet people were collapsing because they had no water.
I can’t help but think what a powerful picture that is to describe all those people out there in our world, and maybe you’re one of them, who are racing through life, so busy, trying to get somewhere, and you’re starting to feel the heat and you’re about to collapse and you wish you could get a drink and be refreshed but you don’t know where to find some water.
Did you know that one of the big themes of the Bible is that the grace of God through Jesus Christ is like a fresh drink of water? Jesus once said that "whoever who drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:14).
I want you to listen to these words from a man named Isaiah who often foretold the coming of Jesus into our world roughly 750 years before Jesus was born. God says through Isaiah: Isaiah 55:1-2 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”
Are you thirsty? Come to the waters. Come take a big drink. Don’t sip. Gulp. And did I mention? It’s free. And it’s plentiful. Listen to Isaiah: “and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” That’s interesting how he puts it, isn’t it? You who have no money, come and buy. How can that be? That doesn’t seem to make sense. How can you buy something without money? Well the point is that it’s free. It’s readily available. It’s a gift of God. That’s what grace is. It’s a cold, refreshing bottle of water on a July afternoon given by God.
And it doesn’t just quench your physical thirst. It quenches your deepest thirst. It quenches the longings of your soul. Look, the truth is we are all in a race. It’s called life. And one day the race will end. We will grow weary. At some point we will start to feel the heat. We will collapse. Ultimatley we will die. But... Jesus Christ offers the water of eternal life. The One who lived without sin for you. The One who overcame death for you. The One who is coming back for you. He is the One who offers you this free gift of his grace. Don’t go through life with it. Don’t face death with it.
This is what makes coming to church regularly so wonderful. It’s not about something we have to do. It’s about something we want to do because it’s like a hydration station conveniently placed in our lives where we can drink up, be refreshed, and finish the race until we collapse into the everlasting arms of God in heaven.
I want to close today with this promise of Jesus himself: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life" (Revelation 21:6).