RECAP: LIVING WATER based on John 7:25-44

We know that we can eat or drink things that are healthy for our bodies, as well as that which is not healthy. When my cat Leon ate all the kitten food as an adult cat, he went from his naturally thin frame to a belly dragging the ground! But once he stopped eating the kitten food, he returned to his normal size.

But what happens if we take too much in and don’t reverse it? We become like the bunny in Wreck-it Ralph who was compelled to consume the pancakes; when we consume too much of the negative, we explode. Obviously, we don’t literally explode like in the cartoon, but it could cost us our life, like the over 900 individuals, including over 300 children, at Jonesboro who blindly trusted their leader and drank the cyanide-laced kool-aid. Spiritually, we can also consume toxins that could really damage our ability to recognize Jesus.

This is precisely what was happening in John 7. The people of Israel were awaiting the Messiah, and now Jesus was standing in their midst. But instead of recognizing him, the poisons kept them from embracing him and finding the freedom they longed for. They drank the poisons of false expectations (this is not where the Messiah was supposed to come from or look like), offense (he is wrecking our system, taking all attention from us), control (the Messiah would not go to the Greeks, those untouchables!), and status quo (our reading of the Scriptures say the Messiah would not come from Galilee). Instead of allowing Jesus and the Word of God to shape their understanding, they forced Jesus into their own box and conform to their own paradigms, making the Word of God suit their own wishes instead of allowing the Word to change their hearts. And in turn, they drank the unhealthy poison and missed out on the Messiah.

But Jesus has an antidote–living water. During the final day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus declared himself to be the source of living water. On the final day of the feast dedicated to remembering the time in the desert, a pitcher of water would be poured over the altar in the temple. The water symbolized not just a prayer for rain, but also the spiritual rain and vitality of the nation. They longed for God’s rain to pour over them and to soak in new life. Jesus invites us to come drink from him, for he is our source of living water. Without water, we dehydrate and die. We can try and replace water with other drinks, but water is what we need for survival. Likewise, we can try any and every avenue to bring vitality to our lives, to our congregation, to our community, and the world. We can try policies and politics, but in the end, the only thing that is life-giving is Jesus. We need to drink the living water and soak him in, as Andy Duquense soaked in the rains of freedom at the end of Shawshank Redemption.

When we drink from Jesus and not the poisons, we allow living water to flow through us. That living water, like the baptismal waters, wash away our old selves and allow us to be reborn in Christ. But if we don’t allow Jesus to flow through us, we become nothing more than a swamp; we collect the water, but it stagnates, begins to stink, and becomes a cesspool for mosquitoes (or negativity). But when we actively drink from Jesus, spend regular time with him, we are continuously refreshed. The result? We begin to overflow and pour out into our community. The Spirit comes forth from us and changes the world. We don’t need a program to touch our community, for it naturally comes out?

How do we know if we are drinking the living water or the poison? What comes out of us? Are we ashamed of Jesus or try to hide him? Then we are drinking poison! Does our lifestyle look nothing like the life of righteousness and holiness a follower of Jesus should look like? Then we are drinking poison! Is what comes out of us a life of praise? Then we have the living water! Is the fruit of the Spirit evident in our lives? Then we have the living water!

What we put in will come out. Will we drink from the living water and embrace Jesus, or the toxins and miss him?

Questions for Reflection

1) Which of the four toxins (false expectation, offense, control, status quo) trip up your faith walk with Jesus? How?

2) How much spiritual vitality is in your life at this moment in time?

3) How much time do you spend with Jesus or developing your walk with Jesus each day?

4) Can people tell you are a follower of Jesus?

Upcoming Service

This Sunday, as long as Pastor Ryan is able (COVID is in the house), Pastor Ryan will continue the  “I AM JESUS” series with the sermon titled, “I AM,” based on John 8. Jesus identified himself as the I AM. Why is that name so powerful, and how should it deepen our faith? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!

Daily Bible Readings for January 25 – January 31

January 25: Exodus 3:11-22 How did God describe himself to Moses? What was the promise?

January 26: Exodus 6:1-8 How did God describe himself to Israel? What was the promise?

January 27: Exodus 20:1-11 How did God describe himself to Israel? What was the promise?

January 28: Job 38 How did God describe himself to Job?

January 29: Matthew 3:13-17 How did God affirm who Jesus really was?

January 30: Genesis 1:1-31 How did God light the world?

January 31: Exodus 13:17-22 How did God light the way for Israel?

This Week’s  Events:

Saturday, January 29–Men’s Fellowship Breakfast @ Thomas House, 7:15 am

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, February 2–Worship Meeting @ 7:30 pm

Saturday, February 5–Spaghetti Fundraiser for the Whitmore Family @ AMVETS, North Liberty Street, Harrisonburg, beginning at 5 pm

Sunday, February 6–Council Meeting @ 12 pm

Sunday, February 6–Bible Study Begins @ 5:15 pm

Sunday, February 20–Birthday Dinner after church; we will need cake sign-ups!

Sunday, February 27–Winter Jam Christian Concert in Roanoke; $10 admission

Saturday, March 5–Sadie Rose Pancake benefit @ 2 pm

Friday, March 25–Gospel Hymn Sing Concert Benefit for the Whitmore Family @ 6:30 pm


Whitmore Family Relief

Thank you all for your help so far! Through Sunday’s offerings, over 32,000 dollars have come into the church to help the family! It is truly amazing to see how we as a church and the community have come together to help our friends!

There will be two fundraisers upcoming. First, on Saturday, February 5, there will be a spaghetti dinner and auction sponsored by the AMVETS on Liberty St in Harrisonburg. It is a free will offering, starting at 5 pm. Second, we will host a Gospel Hymn Sing Concert benefit on Friday, March 25  beginning at 6:30 pm (doors open at 6 pm). We will collect a love offering for the Whitmore family. Some of the guests include Michael Hoover (Elvis), one of the Crestmans, and more!


The directory will be in the narthex through Sunday. Please check and update!

Listening Sessions & Congregational Business Meeting

Thank you to those who attended the first listening session. The goal of these listening sessions is to provide space for members to share their honest feelings and heart concerning our discernment before we proceed to step four in the process. The second will take place as part of our regular council meeting on Sunday, February 6. Again, the goal is to be able to listen to the heart of our church.

We did share some documents during the listening session. If you are a member who did not attend the listening session, the documents can be found in the narthex of the church, right next to the packet for the Congregational Business Meeting. If you need an electronic copy, please email Tess or Pastor Ryan.

Bible Study

Our new Bible Study will begin Sunday evening, February 6 at 5:15 pm at the church and will be every Sunday evening (except February 27) until the study concludes. We will start with a provided meal and then continue in the study. We will be exploring ways we can grow in our understanding of the Bible. The goal is for us to become even more connected and faithful to God’s Holy Word! If you would like to attend, please email Pastor Ryan or call the church office, especially so we know how many to prepare for!

Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story

As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).

Call to Prayer & Discernment

Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:

1) National return to God

2) Repentance of personal sin

3) Repentance of corporate sin

4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships

5) Our leaders

6) Revival

7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead


Misti Wheelbarger is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour for next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.

Four Ways to Give! 

1) Mail your tithe into the church office

2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm

3) Our online giving platform:

4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!

Prayer Needs

Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine

Those within our church family who either have COVID or were exposed to COVID.

John Bennington (health)

Patsy Dastoli (health)

Elijah Tucker Dean (health)

John Fix (addiction)

Janet Good (health)

Cindy Heatwole (health)

Barbara Meadows (health)

Alda Miller (health)

Betty Miller (health)

Mary G Miller (health)

Marty Moore (recovery)

Tami Plaugher (health)

Pidge Rhodes (health)

Lottie Ritchie (health)

Abbie Shiflet (health)

Chris Shirk (health)

Ann Simmons (health)

Crystal Smith (health)

Whitmore family (fire recovery)

Mary Whitmore (health)

Tom Wilfong (health)

Winne Wilfong (recovery)

Charles Wright (recovery)

Joyce Wright (health)

Owen Wright (health)

Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB

Good News Brief–January 25, 2022