January 7, 2008
If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. John 4:10
A long time ago I heard the story of a pastor who was encouraging his people to give more. The preacher’s words were challenged when one of his members got up and said, “Reverend, I thought you always have taught us that salvation, like water, is free. Now you’re asking us to pay. Which of the messages is right?” The quick reply of the pastor shows that he was far smarter than I am. He said, “Both are right. Nobody can contradict the truth: water is free. But it is equally true, if you want water where you are, somebody has to pay for the plumbing.”
Well, it appears a number of market-savvy entrepreneurs have decided you need to pay for both the water and your salvation. To help you on your spiritual quest they’re marketing religious water.
Yes, you heard that right. They’re selling religious water. For example, there is a California company distributing “Holy Drinking Water.” And what makes their water more “holy” than any other?
Simple–the warehoused water is blessed by an Anglican or a Roman Catholic priest.
Not to be outdone, another company is marketing “Spiritual Water.” Spiritual Water comes right out of the tap, but it does sport some really nifty labels. For example, there is the Virgin Mary bottle, which has the “Hail Mary” prayer printed in both English and Spanish. And what does “Spiritual Water” do?
According to the company, it will help you “stay focused, believe in yourself, and believe in God.”
Now I know that sarcasm should have no place in these devotions. For that reason, I’m not going to say that kind of silliness can drive a man to drink. No, I won’t say that. I’m simply going to observe that P. T. Barnum, the fellow who said, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” is probably rolling in his grave. He has to be kicking himself because he never thought of a scam as crazy as this one.
I’m also not going to tell the Daily Devotion listeners to boycott these products. This devotion will simply refer back to Jesus who plainly said He was the “living water.” They refer to the Child whose birth we just remembered, whose perfect life, suffering, unjust death, and glorious resurrection needs no bottled water to help us get into heaven.
Only through faith in Him as our substituting Savior can we be given forgiveness. Only through Him is there salvation. Only through Him can our spiritual thirst be quenched.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, please protect the innocent and gullible from the sinful manipulations of those who would make a profit from what Your sacrifice so freely gives. Let them be brought to You so that they might drink of the living water. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries