John 7: 37-52
You will seek … and not find [the one] out of whose heart flows living water.
John 7:34, 38 [paraphrased]
Two incorrigible siblings were sent to their pastor for counseling. When the first child got to the office, the pastor opened the session by saying in a stern but loving voice, “Where is God?” The child looked at the pastor incredulously puzzled but remained silent. Undaunted, the pastor said again, “Where is God?” This time, the child darted out the office, ran home and hid in the closet. When her brother asked what she was doing in there, she responded, “If I were you, I’d hide in here, too! God is missing, and they think we did it!”
Can Jesus say of us: God is missing and I think my children did it?
The feast referenced in this passage contained many rituals, one of which involved pouring water on the altar to memorialize the water that flowed from the rock during the wilderness experience. It unclear whether the people were then engaged in that ritual, but, at some point, Jesus cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let them come to Me and drink.” Perhaps Jesus saying pouring water had become a mere ceremony, devoid of God and that the people were so focused on the pouring water on the altar that they missed the living water in their midst?
As we journey to the cross, even as we share in the resurrection, engaging in its share of ritual, let us aim to seek Jesus. Otherwise, our fasting and praying becomes vain pieties. Like the religious people of Jesus’ day, God will be missing. And, we will miss God in our very midst.
Is God missing from our efforts to seek God?
Have we missed God in our efforts to find God?
Kathryn V. Stanley
Big Bethel AME Church