Worship Resource: We Thirst For You

This worship resource originally accompanied a sermon based on John 19:28 NIV:

Later, knowing that all was now completed,
and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”

It would work well with any scripture with the theme of hungering and thirsting for God.
– Lisa <><

Worship Resource: We Thirst for You
The introduction to the song begins.
The music continues under all the scripture readings.

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
My whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

We Exalt Your Name by Kari Jobe and Matt Maher (CCLI 5866478)
Verse 1 and Chorus 1

ONE SPEAKING: Psalm 63:2-5 NIV
I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself; how I praise you!

ONE or ALL SPEAKING: Psalm 63:4-5 NIV
I will honor you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest of foods.
I will praise you with songs of joy.

We Exalt Your Name by Kari Jobe and Matt Maher (CCLI 5866478)
Verse 2, Chorus 2a, Chorus 2b

ONE SPEAKING: Psalm 63:6-7 NIV
I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night.
I think how much you have helped me;
I sing for joy in the shadow of your protecting wings.

My soul clings to you
repeat as desired

We Exalt Your Name by Kari Jobe and Matt Maher (CCLI 5866478)

We Thirst For You compilation © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Jesus, The Bread of Life


The Breaking of the Bread
by Sieger Koder

John 6:30-35 (NRSV)
So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

What is manna? Is it a Hebrew pun on mah hu, or as Everett Fox suggests, “Whaddayacallit”: What is this stuff? Is manna mountains of sweet insect excrement, as proposed by some scholars, or the stuff of legend, of a tale told over the generations about how, in some mysterious way, God gives us life? The New Testament’s version of this question is “Who is he?” – and Christians have told one another, over the generations, that in some mysterious way he is the life that God gives. Our manna is Christ. – Gail Ramshaw, The Christian Century

Jesus is the divine light and life made visible, audible, touchable … and finally ingestible. To “see” him, to listen to his words and believe in him, and thus to feed upon him, is to begin to surrender the boundaries of one’s own consciousness and one’s own being. – Bruno Barnhart, The Good Wine: Reading John from the Center

When [Jesus] wanted fully to explain what his forthcoming death was all about, he didn’t give a theory. He didn’t even give them a set of scriptural texts. He gave them a meal.  It was, undoubtedly, a Passover meal. But it was, undoubtedly, a Passover meal with a radical difference. . . . Instead of Passover pointing backward to the great sacrifice by which God has rescued his people from slavery in Egypt, this meal pointed forward to the great sacrifice by which God was to rescue his people from their ultimate slavery, from death itself and all that contributed to it. ~ N. T. Wright, Simply Jesus

John 6:48-51a (NRSV)
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever…”

Jesus said I AM the bread of life not I was or I will be but I AM and that I AMness of Jesus transcends time so that his I Amness is available to us in the present moment.
– Nadia Bolz Webber, Sermon on Eternal Life

The cross must be a choice, a free decision, or it is not the sign of Jesus’ love. The cross is an invitation; each person must say yes. No one becomes a disciple without saying yes to Jesus taking us, blessing us, breaking us open and passing us around.
– Edward J. Farrell, Gathering the Fragments

Bread of Life by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Why nibble on the Bread of Life
when you can chow down?

Why only smell it, faintly,
when you can feast upon it,
every moment, every breath?

The Baker of the Universe
has made for you a special batch
of your favorite —
and it’s him!

All of his teaching, his healing, his love;
his passionate arms around you;
his insistent draw into the deep,
to the other side, into this crazy
trust and delight and brokenheartedness,
his terrifying stagger toward the cross,
his complete collapse into resurrection—
this is no time for moderation,
for politely picking at the crust.
Take the whole thing.  Both hands.

Here, eat it slowly.
Close your eyes.
Let it fill you.

What use are right beliefs
about bread?
This is the work of God,
that you savor the Bread
God has given you.

John 6:53-56 (NRSV)
So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.

We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen. -Thomas Cramner

For more sacred art by today’s featured painter, Father Sieger Köder, click here

For an original hymn text based on these passages, “Come Sup with God”, click here
For a reflection entitled Bread of Life, click here
For a worship resource entitled Seeking Christ the Bread of Life, click here
For a worship resouce entitled Claiming Sabbath and the Bread of Life, click here

For more information on the use of the scripture translation, art and this resource in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

John Day 14: Living Water

Living water man

Living Water by graphic artist Mark Taylor

Gospel of John Reading Plan

Day 14 Reading: John 7:32-52

Bringing the Word to Life
Exercise or work outside. When you are finished, drink some cold water. Pause to thank the Spirit for being a stream of living water flowing within you.

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.” – John 7:37 (NRSV)

Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have. I walk out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your mercy, a little more time. Love for the earth and love for you are having such a long conversation in my heart. Who knows what will finally happen or where I will be sent, yet already I have given a great many things away, expecting to be told to pack nothing, except the prayers which, with this thirst, I am slowly learning. -Mary Oliver

Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring.
-Rumi, The Essential Rumi

Because of what he says at the festival, some choose to believe Jesus is the Messiah. Many Jewish leaders do not believe because they think he was born in Galilee. The Pharisees send temple guards to arrest Jesus, but they do not.

Extended reflection by Rev. Dr. Rini Hernandez: Rivers of the Spirit promised
These words are proclaimed “on the last day” of a 7-day very important festivity for God’s people: “sukkot“, or the Feast of the Tabernacles. It was one of the three main Jewish festivities that would mandate a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The “sukkot” was intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of travel in the desert. Throughout the holiday, meals are eaten inside the sukkah and some people sleep there as well. On each day of the holiday, members of the household would bring offerings to the Temple, and on the 7th day, they would bring water from the pool of Siloam. Then the High Priest would fill up a golden jar with that water, take it to the Temple and amidst the shouts for joy of the people celebrating and the sound of shofars, He would pour out the water into the altar of sacrifices.

The purpose of this ceremony was to remind the Israelites of the many blessings God gave them during those 40 years in the desert (particularly the water from the rock), but also served as a reminder of the abundance of God’s presence during the messianic era. It is in this context that Jesus says: “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!”. In my view, what Jesus is saying here is: “Don’t you get it? That water being poured out at the altar represents ME. And these celebrations are just pointing to the time when, after having lived in a spiritual desert and in fragile tents, now God is building His Eternal Kingdom and pouring out the abundance of His presence through my coming to you!”

Old Testament texts like Isaiah 12:3 were part of that celebration: “With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation”, or Psalm 46:4: “A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High”. Those texts were just an anticipated description of what the living presence of Jesus the Messiah would produce in us: “The rivers of joy”, flowing from our hearts.

The New King James Version’s render of John 7:38 is: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”. This is the description of believers in Jesus Christ who would drink from the water that He offers, experiencing the rivers of those waters flowing for others to drink and be blessed through us.

Whoever drinks from Jesus the well, Jesus the fount, Jesus the stream of waters, they would receive GRACE and JOY and NEW LIFE for themselves, but also, they will be able to communicate the same GRACE, JOY and NEW LIFE to others.

Jesus provides a stream of living water for all who are thirsty for righteousness. This came at the price of Jesus being himself poured out on the cross.

For this is Christ’s spiritual thirst, his longing in love, which persists and always will until we see him … Therefore this is his thirst and his longing in love for us, to gather us all here into him, to our endless joy, as I see it. For we are not now so wholly in him as we then shall be. … We are his bliss, we are his reward, we are his honor, we are his crown. … For he still has that same thirst and longing which he had upon the Cross, which desire, longing and thirst, as I see it, were in him from without beginning; and he will have this until the time that the last soul which will be saved has come up into his bliss. … and this is the characteristic of spiritual thirst, which will persist in him so long as we are in need, and will draw us up into his bliss. -Julian of Norwich

My prayer came out as a poem today…

I thirst by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Holy Jesus, our Lord and our God, is thirsty as he hangs on the cross.
Not the everyday dryness that is easily satisfied by turning a faucet,
but the deep, deadly thirst few of us have known.
The burning, raging thirst of exposure and dehydration

By this time in His torture, Jesus’ body is a festival of pain
Cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them,
and yet he must use them to lift himself to breath
His back, bloody and open down to the bone from the scourging,
scrapes against the craggy tree.
The lacerated veins and crushed tendons of his wrists and ankles
throb with incessant anguish
There’s a deep, crushing pain in the depths of his chest
(it’s his pericardium slowly filling with fluid)
As the heaviness closes in,
his heart struggles to pump what little is left of his thick, sluggish blood
Each variety of misery goes on and on and on
increasing with every moment that passes

How does he choose to describe this?
How does he describe the reality of his passion?
He says– I Thirst

He could have said with the Psalmist
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws
You lay me in the dust of death.

But that is too much
All his swollen tongue can say is… I thirst

Jesus knows the gift of water
The refreshment of being spoken in the beginning
as waters were separated from waters
Of guiding a rutterless ark on the vastness of the ocean
and a rutterless people through two seas and on to freedom
The warm waters of his birth and the obedient waters of his baptism
He knows the feel of spittle on his hands while making mud so a blind man may see
and the feel of spittle on his face from those who mock him

Yet all he can say is… I thirst

Only a short time before, Jesus talks with a man seeking answers in the night
Be born again of water and the Spirit
Only a short time before, Jesus talks with a cast down woman at a public well
Drink the water I give you and never thirst again
Only a short time before, Jesus cries out in the midst of the festival
Let anyone who is thirsty come to me
      Let the one who believes in me drink
Streams of living water will flow from within you

Now he pours himself out for the world… I thirst

I thirst
I thirst for you – because you cannot drink the bitter cup I must drink
I thirst for you – because I desire that none should be lost
I thirst for you – so that you may drink of me, the living water
Drink deeply
I become in you and all who believe a spring of water gushing up to eternal life

Holy Jesus, our Lord and our God, is thirsty as he hangs on the cross.
Not the everyday dryness that is easily satisfied by turning a faucet,
but the deep, vital thirst all of us may now know because of his saving work
The cleansing, satisfying thirst for righteousness

I Thirst © 2001 Lisa Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the Gospel of John Reading Plan, click here

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

In Search of Living Water

The Serpentine Ghost by photographer Ben Horne

Exodus 17:2-7 (NRSV)
The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Jeremiah 2:12-13 (NRSV)
Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.

The Father is the Spring,
the Son is called the Stream
and we are said to drink the Spirit.
– Athanasius

The thirst for God is universal because we have been created with a longing for the Creator. This desire to know and be known by the One who made us and loves us is often ignored, denied, and finally buried under a multitude of pursuits and interests. But then some event in life invites or forces us to pause, and the desire for God comes rushing back to our awareness. And once again we know that real life is impossible without the companionship of the One who first gave us the gift of life and who sustains us even now. – Rueben P. Job, A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

From The Awkward Season- Prayers for Lent by Pamela C Hawkins

From The Awkward Season- Prayers for Lent by Pamela C Hawkins

The things of God have a circumference. They are preserved in a written body of truth. It’s like a well – and no one has ever fathomed the depth of God’s truth. To go into the power of the gospel, or of prayer, or the Holy Spirit, or divine love is to plunge ever deeper and deeper into God’s well. Every man or woman used by God has gone down into this vast reservoir. – Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

Quote and Blessing from In the Sanctuary of Women by Jan L. Richardson
And the well runs dry. It’s one of the most common experiences in the spiritual life. A practice that we have cherished, a habit that has deepened us and drawn us closer to God, a discipline that we perhaps have engaged in for years no longer seems to work. … Pondering the questions that lie at the bottom of a dry well offers a journey of its own. What I know is this: to find the answers, we have to pay attention to the dryness. This is a desert place. As uncomfortable as it may be, there is no substitute for these desert places in the spiritual life. They offer a wisdom that we cannot get any other way.

When the well goes dry, listen.
Sit by it, your ear pressed to its rim.
Hear the empty and the hollow of it.
Let be. Let be.
When finally you hear your breath
echo back to you,
let this sound be your first prayer.
Where there is breath,
there is water somewhere.

John 7:37-38 (NRSV)
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “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.’ ”

Our brokenness is the wound through which the full power of God can penetrate our being and transfigure us in God. Loneliness is not something from which we must flee but the place from where we can cry out to God, where God will find us and we can find God. Yes, through our wounds the power of God can penetrate us and become like rivers of living water to irrigate the arid earth within us. Thus we may irrigate the arid earth of others, so that hope and love are reborn. – Jean Vanier, The Broken Body

Prayer for Living Water
God of the Wilderness, we are thirsty. We are dry and hard. Our hearts are more stone than flesh. Swing your saving rod once more. Crack us open. Break us of quarreling and division. Smash our fondness for complaining. Shatter our mistrust, especially our mistrust of you. Let your living water flow, a stream in the desert, a spring of salvation. God, we are so very thirsty. Flood us and the world with your healing and transforming love, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Living Water © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this resource in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.