Water is thicker than blood.

Exodus 17:1-17, Psalm 95, Romans 5 : 1-11, John 4 : 5-42

Rabbi Poupko, of the Chicago board of rabbis, told a group of priests I was with in Jerusalem that being Jewish is about flesh and blood.  Whether a person is a devout Jew or an unbelieving Jew; whether they live in Israel, in the USA or in Eastern Europe and whatever language they speak; whether you like them or hate them, they all belong to one family – they are the same flesh and blood – they are Jewish.

No wonder, then, that Nicodemus, a first century rabbi, did not understand when Jesus said that ‘flesh is flesh, but what is born of the Spirit is Spirit.’  The family that Nicodemus knew was his own flesh and blood Jewish family that he had been born into – the chosen race.  The family that Jesus spoke of was a new worldwide family – Jew and Gentile alike –– wherever the Spirit blew.  For Jesus the chosen race was the whole human race and we have to be born again into it.

Jesus’s words are as hard today as they were 2000 years ago.  Loving our own flesh and blood – our children, our parents, our families – is something we do instinctively.  We see it in the animal world.  Parents would give their lives for their children.  But giving our lives for our neighbour’s children and parents and families is way beyond our normal instincts – perhaps it is unnatural and impossible.

Mother TeresaNevertheless Jesus calls us to make this para-normal choice beyond flesh and blood, and he gives us the power of the Spirit so that we can do it.

Here’s a moving youtube presentation about a woman who made that choice : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eH7lz9wcHHs