2 Samuel 14:14 - "Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, He devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him."
This devotion pairs with this weekend's Lutheran Hour sermon, which can be found at lutheranhour.org.
As a part-time, small-scale urban chicken rancher, I learned that 1932 was a watershed moment in the history of domestic poultry care. That's when the Hudson Manufacturing Company obtained a patent for its chicken-watering device adapted to store water in a small reservoir and automatically feed it into a watering pan. I've owned a couple of these wondrous chicken-watering fountains. And they work great. Until they don't. When my first one was a year old, I noticed that every day it would run dry. The water was slowly spilling out, turning our coop into a cesspool of straw and chicken scat. Puzzled, I read up on the physics behind these devices. Exactly how they work is still a mystery to me. But I know it has something to do with pressure. And if there's a crack in the container, air gets in and the water spills out.
The words of our Scripture passage today were spoken to King David by a wise woman. Her words sound like a proverb, and they have meaning beyond the immediate context. In context, they apply to David and his royal family. At this point in the narrative, we've seen that David is a cracked container. Because of his moral failures, his family is sinking into a cesspool of sin and evil. David's son is an outcast; David will soon become an outcast, and eventually the whole nation will be cast out of the Promised Land, estranged from God's presence, like Adam and Eve exiled from the Garden of Eden. Like water spilled on the ground, so we all must die, the wise woman reminds us. But even when life seems beyond recovery, the God of Israel still makes a way to fill cracked pots like us.
David's life tells us something about God's path of recovery. It's not in trying to fix the situation. It's not even in trying to fix ourselves. When faced with his sin, David prayed to God: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise" (Psalm 51:17). God does call us to turn from our sin to righteousness, but He's less interested in our self-improvement plans and more interested in our honesty about our condition. Ultimately, God's vision for us is to become, not self-sufficient, sealed-off systems, but permanently dependent on Him, filled by the Fountain of Life.
In Psalm 72, there's a portrait of the Messiah, righteous King promised to the family of David. When this King takes the throne, the psalm says, He will be like rain watering the earth, filling His people, and making them flourish (see Psalm 72:6-7). And a thousand years after David, Jesus came. He stood in God's temple and said, "Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within in him" (John 7:37-38). Jesus, the Messiah, crucified and risen, will return one day to fill in all our cracks and make us new. But for now, life keeps leaking out. So, Jesus keeps on filling.
THE PRAYER: King Jesus, give us this living water. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour.
1. What comes to your mind when you think of something "spilled that cannot be recovered"?
2. What lately has reminded you of your "cracked" condition, that your life is leaking out?
3. What's one step you could take this week toward letting Jesus keep you filled?
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