This week's text is Isaiah 12:1-6
There's an interesting turn in the beginning of this text where the prophet recognizes that God was angry with the him and yet God turned away from anger and instead comforted the prophet. When the prophet was interpreting God's anger and/or compassion, the people were in the thick of determining a political alliance. They were in danger of exile to Assyria and the people needed an ally. Would they choose Egypt? Would they choose another nearby power? Or would they look to God for salvation?
What does it mean to accept God as an ally? Or to make God an ally? How does one create an alliance with God? And is this alliance with God one of many alliances we have? In other words, do we have an alliance with God that is secondary to other alliances? Or perhaps our alliance with God is primary but do we have other alliances as backup?
The prophet has accepted an alliance with God it seems. And believes that the people will "draw water from the wells of salvation with joy." It's this image that I'm most drawn to. Drawing, drinking, being refreshed from the wells of salvation.
When humans are afraid of a force that is poised to overtake them, like the prophet and Israel were of Assyria, the image of being refreshed with water provides a tremendous respite for their fear. And refreshed by salvation, well that sounds like fear is assuaged. It gets better when we realize the word for well that is used here is more accurately interpreted as fountain.
A fountain is moving water. A fountain, as Marcus Hong described is a "gift" whereas humans must dig a well. I like the distinction for sure. The waters of salvation are a gift. And the moving water in the the Christmas story is the waters of childbirth.
Not to get too off track here but my husband is always asking me when I'm going to give the sermon where I explain that if there was a little drummer boy at Jesus' birth, Mary most certainly would have said, "someone take away that kid's drum!"
Water flowed from Mary and from this fountain came Jesus. Ten fingers and ten toes. Two eyes and two ears and one nose. Heart that loves, lungs that breathe. Hands that healed and legs that walked in and out of people's lives. This vulnerable package of salvation was wrapped in the flowing waters of childbirth. Incarnation came from the waters of childbirth. The fountain flowed and we receive this gift with joy.
What does it mean for us to draw this tiny, vulnerable baby from the fountain of childbirth? What is this salvation that we hold in our arms when we treasure the Christ child? And by drawing this salvation from the fountain, how do we see ourselves being in an alliance with God? God is not angry anymore. God has shown compassion. God has chosen aligned with us humans. Have we aligned ourselves with God?
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