Streams of salvation, streams of living water, streams of love

IN the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

John 7:37-38.

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Icon of Christ the Life-giving fount

Icon of Christ the Life-giving fount

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Today is Wednesday of ‘Mid-Pentecost’. There’s more information at OrthodoxWiki.

STANDING in the midst of the Temple, at the mid-point of the feast inspired by God, you cried out: Whoever thirsts, let them come to me and drink;

For whoever drinks of this divine stream of mine, rivers of my teachings will flow from his belly; whoever believes in me, who have been sent from my divine Begetter, will be glorified with me.

Therefore we cry to you: Glory to you, Christ God, for you have richly poured out for your servants the streams of your love for mankind.

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The language of flowing waters is to be found throughout the Old Testament as a symbol of God, and especially creative Divine Wisdom.

HO, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Isaiah 55:1-3.

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DRAW near unto me, ye unlearned, and dwell in the house of learning.

Wherefore are ye slow, and what say ye to these things, seeing your souls are very thirsty?

I opened my mouth, and said, Buy her for yourselves without money.

Put your neck under the yoke, and let your soul receive instruction: she is hard at hand to find. Behold with your eyes, how that I have but little labour, and have gotten unto me much rest.

The Wisdom of Jesus ben Sirach 51:24-27.

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In the New Testament, creative Divine Wisdom has taken flesh, and is Jesus Christ. In this way, Christ’s true divinity is subtly implied. For example:

AT that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Mt 11:25, 28-30. Compare Sirach 51:24-27 above.

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Our Liturgy has followed St John and the other New Testament writers in identifying Divine Wisdom with Jesus Christ.

AS you make the water of wisdom and life well up for the world, you invite all, O Saviour, to draw the streams of salvation; for one who accepts your divine law, by it quenches the burning coals of error; and so they will never thirst, nor ever have their fill of you, Master, heavenly King.

Therefore we glorify your might, Christ God, as we ask you to send down richly on your servants forgiveness of offences.

Kathisma at Matins, Fourth Wednesday after Pascha (Mid-Pentecost). Translation from Anastasis.

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Finally, a Psalm.

O GOD, thou art my God; early will I seek thee:
my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

To see thy power and thy glory,
so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life,
my lips shall praise thee.

Thus will I bless thee while I live:
I will lift up my hands in thy name.

Psalm 62(63):1-4.

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