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John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
Jesus said to his disciples, "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
"I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But, now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, `Where are you going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."
A diplomat from a foreign country is visiting the US for the first time was being wined and dined by the State Department. The diplomat was not used to the salt in American foods (French fries, cheeses, salami, anchovies etc.) and was constantly sending his manservant to fetch him a glass of water.
Time and again, the servant would scamper off and return with a glass of water, but then came the time when he returned empty handed. "You son of an ugly camel, where is my water?" demanded the diplomat "A thousand pardons, O Illustrious One," stammered the wretched servant, "A man is sitting on the well."… Jesus said, “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them,” but in this particular case I might disagree with him.
We very much live in a consumer society. We are constantly being given opportunities to consume all sorts of things. Some are actually good for us.. others turn out to be toilet water. When something proves to be not so good for us, then we will find a substitute… smoking is not so good for you, so we now have gum, patches, pills and battery operated cigarettes to give the necessary fix. Sugar… there is now the sweet-n-low (which I think is actually bad for us), so we came up with Splenda, Equal, Stevia and I’m sure a few more. Heck, we’ve even got good at replacing people – all you need is a computer and an internet connection and you can jump into fantasy land extraordinaire… And through enlightenment, taken to its extreme.. we have even found numerous replacements for God. There is the god of science, self, technology, money, sex, reason and so on.. we forget “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”.. We consume.. we drink in all that our society has to offer.. while forgetting that there is only One who can truly quench our thirst…. Jesus says, “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
You’ve all probably heard of – if not read – the Chronicles of Narnia by now… wonderful story by C.S. Lewis… In the fourth book, The Silver Chair, we hear of the adventures of Eustace and Jill, both young children… You’ll recall that these books are an analogy for our life with God, and in them God is represented by the Lion Aslan. Eustace and Jill become separated.. and although she has seen the lion she does not know Him and so is terrified… as she wanders through the magical land of Narnia she becomes tired, hungry and very thirsty… at one point in the story we are told…
The birds had ceased singing and there was perfect silence except for one small, persistent sound, which seemed to come from a good distance away. She listened carefully, and felt almost sure it was the sound of running water.
Jill got up and looked round her very carefully. There was no sign of the lion; but there were so many trees about that it might easily be quite close without her seeing it. . . . But her thirst was very bad now, and she plucked up her courage to go and look for that running water. . . .
The wood was so still that it was not difficult to decide where the sound was coming from. It grew clearer every moment and, sooner than she expected, she came to an open glade and saw the stream, bright as glass, running across the turf a stone’s throw away from her. But although the sight of water made her feel ten times thirstier than before, she didn’t rush forward to drink. She stood as still as if she had been turned to stone, with her mouth wide open. And she had a very good reason: Just on this side of the stream lay the Lion. . . .
How long this lasted, she could not be sure; it seemed like hours. And the thirst became so bad that she almost felt she would not mind being eaten by the lion if only she could be sure of getting a mouthful of water first.
“If you’re thirsty, you may drink.” . . .
For a second she stared here and there, wondering who had spoken. Then the voice said again, “If you are thirsty, come and drink.” . . .
It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. . . .
“Are you thirsty?” said the Lion.
“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the Lion.
“May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. . . . The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic. . . .
“Do you eat girls?” she asked fearfully.
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.
There is no other stream… there is only once source of the life giving water.. and it is given only through the Lion of Judah… through Jesus…. And that water is the Spirit of God… “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”.. scripture goes on to say… “By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.”
As we read today from the Acts of the Apostles… “When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Like Jill who wanted to go and find another stream to drink from.. we too can look to the gods of science, self, technology, money, sex, reason… but from none of them will we find the true Spirit of God from which to drink because these are not of Christ.. As John writes, “This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”... What Paul has written is true.. “There is one body and one Spirit… one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free —and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”… If it is not of God, if it does not proclaim Jesus as Lord, if it is not this life giving water.. then… then it is nothing more than antichrist.. it is nothing more than toilet water.
As St. Josemaria Escriva asks, “Why stoop to drink from the puddles of worldly consolation if you can satisfy your thirst with waters that spring up into life everlasting?”
Today is the day of Pentecost.. It is the birthday of the Church.. It is the giving of the Spirit of God.. It is the day the fire fell.. It is the day that the thirst of God’s people was quenched… drink… drink deeply.
Let us pray… Come, Spirit of God, with God the Father’s love, by Christ’s body and blood; in the new birth of Your own breath. Come to cover our littleness and consume our sins, to direct all our desires and doings; come with counsel for our perplexities, with light from Your everlasting scriptures; come to reveal the deep things of God, and what He has prepared for those that love Him; come with Your prayer into ours. Amen.