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Monday, May 7, 2018

     “There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’ For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever...

Thursday, April 19, 2018

     “Come, let us drink a new drink (Δεῦτε πόμα πίωμεν καινόν, Приидите пиво пием новое), not miraculous water drawn forth from a barren stone, but from the fount of incorruption, springing from the tomb of Christ. In Him we are established (ἐν ᾧ στερεούμεθα, в немже утверждаемся).” (Irmos 3 of Paschal Canon)

     Here the author of the Paschal Canon, St. John of Damascus, is comparing the “miraculous water drawn forth from a barren stone” by Moses in Exodus 17: 5-8 (and also later, in Numbers 20) with the new life offered to us in the risen Lord from a most unexpected place, – from a stone tomb, – in His unexpected exit from there. Every day, I am invited to “drink” of His life-giving word, and to “drink in” His life-giving presence in my life, however stone-hearted I may feel....

Friday, January 19, 2018

When You, O Lord were baptized in the Jordan / The worship of the Trinity was revealed, / For the voice of the Father bore witness to You / And called You His beloved Son. / And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, / Confirmed the truthfulness of His word. / O Christ, our God, You have revealed Yourself / And have enlightened the world, glory to You!” (Byzantine Troparion-hymn of Theophany / Baptism of the Lord)

The Lord “reveals” Himself; He appears unto us. That’s what He does, on this great feast of Theo-phany (θεο-φάνεια, Бого-явление, or «appearance/revelation of God»), celebrated today by those of us on the Older Calendar. He doesn’t hide Himself from us, but exposes Himself, immersing Himself into, and giving His light and “enlightenment” to, the “waters” of our world in the river Jor...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Of old, the river Jordan / turned back before Elisha’s mantle at Elijah’s ascension. / The waters were parted in two / and the waterway became a dry path. / This is truly a symbol of baptism / by which we pass through this mortal life. / Christ has appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters!” (Troparion-hymn, Forefeast of Theophany)

Today those of us on the Older Calendar begin the third day of the “Forefeast” (προεόρτια, предпразднство) of the great feast of Theophany, or the important moment in Salvation History, of the Baptism of the Lord in the river Jordan. So now the texts of our church-services are explaining to us, and bringing to life, some of the “hints“ that God “dropped“ throughout the Old Testament, about His plan to renew and redeem our fallen humanity. One such “hint,“ th...

Friday, January 5, 2018

Be glad, thirsty desert: let the wilderness exult, and flower as the lily. And the desert places of Jordan shall blossom and rejoice; the glory of Libanus has been given to it, and the honour of Carmel; and my people shall see the glory of the Lord, and the majesty of God. Be strong, weakened hands and feeble knees. Comfort one another, fainthearted ones; be strong, fear not; behold, our God renders judgment, and he will render it; he will come and save us. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear. Then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the stammerers shall speak plainly; for water has burst forth in the desert, and a channel of water in a thirsty land.” (Is 35: 1-6, Septuagint-translation)

This is one of the prophecies read durin...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Draw therefore water with joy out of the wells of salvation. And in that day you shall say, sing to the Lord, call aloud upon his name, proclaim his glorious deeds among the Gentiles; make mention that his name is exalted. Sing praise to the name of the Lord; for he has done great things: declare this in all the earth. Exalt and rejoice, you that dwell in Sion: for the Holy One of Israel is exalted in the midst of her.” (Is 12: 3-6, Septuagint-translation)

As those of us on the Older Calendar enter the great feast of The Baptism of the Lord or Theophany, when we have the great blessing of water in our churches, we also hear this prophecy, among the many Old-Testament readings included in the Theophany-services. It calls us to “draw water with joy”; to quench our thirst, both physical and s...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

O God, my God, early in the morning I seek you (πρὸς σὲ ὀρθρίζω), my soul thirsts for you, and moreover my flesh, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Ps 62: 1, according to the Septuagint)

This is what it’s like, waking up early in the morning with all sorts of thoughts scurrying about in my head. That chattery “place” in my head, raising concerns about this and that, is “a dry and weary land where there is no water.” It’s also a tap on the shoulder from God, calling me to seek Him; to get up and re-connect with Him, Who alone restores me to true life and true peace, giving me to “drink” of His “living water,” His humbling grace.

Your Good Spirit shall guide me into the right land” (Ps 142: 10) today; a land in which I not only do not thirst, in neediness and insufficiency,...

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