Let the water and the blood…
Words from Rock of ages, written by the wonderfully named Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady.
The song takes it’s imagery from a gorge in Southern England, where Toplady sheltered from a storm, from the rock that was struck in the desert and from which water flowed during the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt and from the spear that pierced Jesus side during the crucifixion.
Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. John 19:31-34 ESVUK
The Gospel account is that the soldier that wounded Jesus did it after he had already died, making it unnecessary. And that Thomas doubts and says he will not believe in Jesus resurrected until he see’s the wounds. My own interpretation of this casts doubt on whether Thomas doubted God: He doubted the other disciples, that is clear, but he was so quick to declare Jesus to be his Lord and God that there seems to be no evidence of a lack of faith in God there. I am interpreting differently from that used in Holy Trinity, Huddersfield Lent meetings.
I am also not following the Holy Trinity meditation on this, which focussed on Thomas, but deviating from that in my own thoughts.
Tradition says that the spear entered through Jesus’ right side and went up through his body cavity to his heart in the left. I have a scat on my right side, below the rib cage, where it it traditionally thought that the . I do not think of it as my stigmatum, just a result of one of my cycling accidents. In any case this scar has faded over time and in now barely visible (except on holiday, as it tans at a different rate to the rest of my body).
Jesus scars, however do not fade. Think about it, there was no reason for the resurrected Jesus to bear the passion wounds after he was raised, on a Sunday morning would someone be able to walk on feet that had been nailed the previous Friday? There was some healing there, the resurrection was more than just resuscitation. Jesus only bears the scars because he chooses to. The same wounds he bore on Earth are visible in Heaven.
We all bear scars. Some are physical, some are psychological, some mental. As Christians we can deal with our wounds by stuffing them into Jesus wounds. Take them to Jesus who in being wounded bore the mental, psychological and physical wounds of the world. That includes yours and mine.
Meditate on the thing that has hurt you the most, in your meditation put it into Jesus’ wounds on the cross. Jesus died for us and by his wounds we are healed.
Now think about the person who has hurt you the most. Try to push the would he or she has caused right up to to Jesus heart, know that your huts are felt by Jesus heart. Hear his words from the cross, “Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.” Forgive them. or at least ask God to help you to want to forgive them. I know from experience that getting to wanting to forgive is the hard part.
Jesus dies for those who hurt him, which is not just you and me, but those who have hurt you and me. We have to forgive those who hurt us like Jesus forgives those who hurt him. It is difficult, and I’m on the path to doing it but I’m not there yet. But it is worth it.