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How do I show my neighbor God‘s love?

July 23, 2013

Have you ever had someone say to you as you were leaving their place of business “Have a great day and stay hydrated!”? If you have you probably live in the Valley of the Sun and it doesn’t seem so odd a gesture at all. Though prior to moving to Arizona I had never thought about hydration as being a critical element of my daily existence. I take the water that I receive daily for granite and don’t give that part of my existence much thought at all. In our society to day we have mastered the ability to provide basic necessities for most of us in this country. In fact, we have exceeded the “basics” for the majority. We are on our way to being self sufficient, complete self reliance. A truly great thing, right?

“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:40-42)

So what is the big deal about offering a cup of water to someone. Water is in abundance, people don’t have to worry about going without its live giving benefits do they? If water were to become an issue then maybe we should worry about it but now offering someone a cup or cold water is not that significant is it.  But that cold cup of water can represent one to the two challenges that I face when I seek an answer to the question about showing God‘s love to my neighbor. The first was understanding who is my neighbor and the second is what is a true reflection of God’s love.

When Jesus greets the Samaritan woman (John 4) at the well He offers her living water that flows from Him. Water that will satisfy our thirst permanently. The woman jumps at the opportunity not thirst again, first because it represents relief from her own physical needs. She won’t have to draw water from a well. Secondly, once Jesus explains more clearly that He is offering a means to provide something that will satisfy the soul she runs and gathers as many of her neighbors that will follow her to come and see the Profit. This was a woman that was not favored in the community. She had questionable morals and by the fact that she went to well at a time when others were not there indicated that shows us that she may not have felt comfortable in a setting where those “neighbors” were gathered.

So as I offer a cold cup of water to my newly found neighbor, that cup of water is Jesus. The simple gesture reveals God’s love.  I know that to show God’s love I must stop myself and reach out to those that thirst. I am called to show Jesus a statement of God’s love. As we are being conformed to his image we are challenged to respond as He would. If I was standing in a city today and someone came to me and told me that Jesus was here and among us. Where would I find him? This is not a question of His triumphant return for I would see Him in the clouds, but a question of transporting Him into today’s society, doing His Father’s work here and now. Who among us will He be trying to reach? Where ever that is, I want to be there with Him, to be in His company and to experience the mystery of His words. Would He be offering prosperity and riches or would it be that cold cup of water for those that thirst to fill their empty souls?  To Him be the glory!

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