LIFE group guide: hydrate!

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (Jan. 18) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.


Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this morning’s sermon.

To declare our need to “soak” our life in God, and to urge us to do just that.


These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon.

• Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.” (John 4.13-14 CEB)

• Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6.35 NLT)

• Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.” (John 6.53-56 NIV)

• On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive … (John 7.37-39 NRSV)

•… knowing that everything was already completed, in order to fulfill the scripture, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19.28 CEB)


Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump for group conversation.

1. What is your drink of choice? That is, you always look forward to drinking ____.

2. On average, how much water do you drink per day at this time of year?


These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.

1. Read Jn. 6.53-56’s context. Why believe Jesus isn’t referring to the Lord’s Supper?

2. What does water have to do with the context/location of the words of Jn. 7.37-39?


These questions help us discern and share what we sense God’s Spirit is doing as we encounter his word.

1. What does it mean to thirst for God? What does a person thirsty for God do?

2. I consistently find my thirst for God grows whenever I ________.

3. What hindrances have you encountered to acquiring an abiding thirst for God?

4. How is it a real thirst for God is simultaneously unquenchable and yet, quenched?


These ideas/suggestions are for use beyond the group meeting; to aid your living out today’s message.

1. Continually sip some water throughout each day. As you sip, pray.

2. Encourage others to stay hydrated. Each time you do, silently consider a Scripture.

links: this went thru my mind

Church, culture, demographics & multi-racial: The Changing Face of the American Church

“If you ask, would you like to have a multiethnic church, everyone says, ‘that would be wonderful’ … When you ask, what are you doing to make that happen—that’s when you hear the crickets.”

Contentment, life, meaning, significance & stimulation: What If Having an Extraordinary Life Isn’t the Point?

“What we are called to do every day, right where God has placed us, is rich and rewarding. … Sometimes, the best way to change the world is to live extraordinarily in what looks like an ordinary existence—to radically love and serve those around us every day, no matter where we are.”

Pornography & repentance: * Men and Porn (a four-part series; parts 1, 2, 3 & 4)

“The tips and suggestions below are based on my research into cognitive psychology over the years as well as from reported experiences of men who have quit using porn. Again, there’s no silver bullet. What works for one man, may not work for you. You need to be ready to experiment and try different things.”

Water: Water is the New Oil: How Corporations Took Over a Basic Human Right

“Water has become a commodity …and the world’s poor are paying the price. … Twenty percent of the world right now does not have access to clean water. Twenty percent of the world also happens to live on less than a dollar a day. And it’s interesting to look at how much those two groups overlap.”

Caesarea Maritima: the high-level aqueduct


Herod the Great constructed a high-level aqueduct to sustain the growth of the population of Caesarea Maritima. The source for the aqueduct’s water was Mount Carmel, located seven miles away to the north-northeast. However, this aqueduct was about much more than the delivery of water to a thirsty city.

On the surface, it would appear that the purpose of aqueducts like the one pictured above near Caesarea was to simply bring a steady stream of fresh water to the city. But the construction of such aqueducts served additional purposes, not the least of which would be the constant, graphic display of Rome’s apparent power over the very products of the heavens and time. Marianne Sawicki explains:

… when Herodian engineers built the massive aqueduct systems to support cities like Caesarea … they accomplished something more than civic improvements. They secularized the water. It no longer came from heaven; it came from Rome. “From Rome” means that Roman engineering brought it into homes and courtyards from far-off mountain springs, conveniently, automatically, without regard to the natural vicissitudes of the weather or the seasons, and without any apparent assistance from divine providence. … Aqueducts as such were by no means a Roman innovation in … Galilee. … But, unlike … earlier installations, the Herodian- and Roman-era aqueducts were monumentally built and called attention to themselves by their size and design. They matched the civic architecture of theaters, colonnaded avenues, temples, and so forth that constituted the “urban overlay” of the Greco-Roman cities in Galilee.

While I could share quite a few more pictures of sites I was privileged to see in Caesarea Maritima this spring, most of them would be of matters dating from the time of the Crusades. So, we’ll leave Caesarea now, having focused primarily on matters pertaining to the first century A.D.

Where do you guess we might be in our photo tour of Israel when posting resumes here on Sat., Sept. 28? Come and see!

Caesarea Maritima: palace of the procurators (4a)


There is a well located at the western end of the peristyle courtyard of the Upper Palace of the Palace of the Procurators complex in Caesarea Maritima.

While it is well known that a large aqueduct supplied most of Caesarea Maritima’s needs for water, the presence of this well makes it clear “that the high-level aqueduct was in not in operation when the Palace of the Procurators was constructed.” As Caesarea’s population rapidly grew to over 100,00 in connection Herod the Great’s building projects, the construction of the aqueduct became essential.

Writing in regard to his tour of Palestine in 1879, J.W. McGarvey mentioned a well, perhaps this one, in his book Lands of the Bible (p. 276), noting that in his time there was “a well of never-failing water, and hither flocks and herds are daily led from the immediate vicinity to be watered.”

links to the land


Abraham, Turkey & Ullis: Prophet Abraham’s Lost City Found in Turkey’s Kilis

“… according to the head of the excavation team, Cumhuriyet University Archaeology Department Associate Professor Atilla Engin.”

Aqueduct, Caesarea Maritima & water: Water and Caesarea Maritima

“… how do you get water from Mount Carmel, seven miles away, to Caesarea Maritima? If you are King Herod, with basically unlimited resources and ‘free’ labor, you build an aqueduct. … And, he built it so well that it transported water almost continually for 1200 years.”

Geography & spirituality: What Biblical Geography Can Do for Your Spiritual Life

“One of God’s stated purposes in bringing the Hebrews from Egypt was to give them a land that fostered faith (Deuteronomy 11:10-15). The land’s dependency on rain for water and its location as a land bridge between world powers forced the Hebrews to trust God or starve. They would either influence the world or be influenced by it.”

Herod the Great: Herod the Great: The King’s Final Journey

[A gallery tour of the special Herod the Great exhibit in the Israel Museum. Outstanding!]

Jerusalem: Jerusalem Landmarks, Montefiore to Calatravo

“… an object or feature of a landscape or place that is easily seen and recognized at a distance, especially one that enables someone to establish their location.”