Editor's note: "An uncommon Advent: the arrival of a Savior in our lives" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Wisconsin community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.

December 23 – Uncommon rivers of living water

Isaiah 43:25-44:20 and Revelation 11:1-19

As we anticipate the coming of our Savior in Advent, Isaiah helps us by painting a picture of looking forward to pouring water on a thirsty land. How refreshing! For such a long time, the expectation of a Savior certainly must have had those in the Old Testament thirsty for what was to come.

More than seventeen years ago, my family was invited to join a Concordia University Wisconsin spring break mission trip to Juarez, Mexico. As we were traveling through the area between El Paso and Juarez, I noted the dramatic contrast between a very green and lush Texas city and a very dusty and dirt colored city just across the border. Juarez very much appeared to be a city in need of water. That stark difference can also be found in the parched and lifeless condition of our hearts due to our need for Jesus with the life-saving refreshment He provides to our souls.

This has been the human narrative for nearly as long as there have been humans. Our Father created us to be nourished and satisfied as we started in the garden, but all too soon, we wanted to be in charge. Our most distant relatives took things into their own hands by disobeying the Father and making themselves and all future generations enemies of God. Isaiah 44 tells us that we humans went so far as to take credit for planting trees, use the wood to provide our own heat, and then fashion gods of our own making. God made an everlasting covenant to provide a solution for our endlessly arrogant and sinful behavior. In this season of Advent, we reflect and remember how He sent his own Son to free us from our sin and cleanse us from our unrighteousness.

That good news is a glass of cool water for a thirsty soul, like water on a thirsty land. Today, give thanks for His refreshing Spirit, for the good news of the gospel, and for His grace-filled solution to our rebellion. Rejoice with the angel who proclaims, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people,” like rivers of living water.

-Tom Phillip is the Vice President of Informational Technology and has served at Concordia University Wisconsin since 1996. View a full schedule of “An uncommon Advent” readings here.

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