Isaiah 55:1-9 (Psalm 63:1-8); 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9
Exodus 20:1-17 (Psalm 19); 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22
Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42
In the synoptic accounts of the cleansing of the temple, Jesus is being provocative. In John, he is provoked.
Respectable women made their trips to the well in the morning, not at noon.
The prominent place of food and meals in the Bible may be surprising to us fast-food and take-out eaters. Back in biblical times, gathering and preparing food took time and occupied a significant part of Israel’s life. The danger of famine (due to natural calamities or crop failure) gave special importance to food. Water was drawn from a well or spring, not a faucet or commercial bottle. Bread was baked from scratch, and beans and lentils simmered for hours.
The Ten Commandents are prefaced not by an order but by a breathtaking announcement of freedom.
It is tempting to sit in judgment on others. Sometimes we do it in jest, as Mark Twain did when commenting on Adam. “Adam was but human—this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.” But sometimes the serpent eats us, and then we judge in earnest.
God will forgive my sins,” quipped Heinrich Heine on his deathbed. “It’s his job.” How different are the viewpoints of Isaiah, Paul and Luke! They note an ongoing theological tension between the assurance of God’s kindness and the call to immediate repentance. Yes, God is merciful, not punishing as we deserve, not automatically correlating our misdeeds with disasters. But there is no room for complacency: if we think we’re standing, we should watch that we do not fall.
Notice the size of this psalm: it moves from the revelation of God in the heavens to the revelation of God in scripture to the mysterious working of God’s word in the believer.
This is not a metaphorical desert. Left alone here at high noon, Jesus could die without water.