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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

The Heartbeat of Love

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

(John 7:38 NKJV)

We are in Jerusalem, during the Feast of Huts, one of the three pilgrimage feasts during which the Jews had to go to the Shrine. Also known as the "Feast of Tabernacles", it lasted a week and was characterized precisely by the construction of huts with a roof of rather sparse foliage, so that there was more shade than light, but from which you could still see the stars. On the last day, there was the water ceremony. A vase was filled at the Siloam pool and carried into the temple, accompanied by the sound of trumpets. Upon reaching the altar, the water was poured amid shouts and manifestations of joy. With all this in mind, Jesus declares the words of our verse. The editor of the gospel does not hesitate to help us understand what the Lord meant: "this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (v. 39). I could therefore say that whoever has the Spirit has breasts from which living water flows. Similarly, each of us can be like water: we can be the still and stagnant element of the swamp or the fresh, clear and calm flowing water of the mountain stream, full of life within and able to nourish everything. what grows along its banks.

If we could understand this potential, a lot would have a new meaning and our relational approaches would be more careful and scrupulous. Yes, I dare to talk to you about the freshness and vitality of water, comparing it to the sensitivity of mind that every disciple and believer should have developed, distinguishing it from the heightened emotionality which is quite another. I shudder, alas, to consider that there is a widespread attitude of insensitivity, when one has paid a few fees or had to deal with hypocrisy or hidden material interests. Let's be honest, if we deprive ourselves of sensitivity, what do we become or are we? A world without sensitivity would be totally opaque, gray like the London sky, mute and first of harmony, odorless and unable to attract. We would all be elements of a carousel that chases the vain and temporary needs fueled by calculation, convenience or interest. If in society, sensitivity is seen as a timeless quality, confused as weakness and fragility, in the church it is a precious stone, water that refreshes the thirsty soul and capable of giving freshness to the desert of many hearts. I would dare to call it the heartbeat of love. Even if they are only words, they will be seasoned with salt, for "the mouth of the righteous is a well of life" (Proverbs 10:11).

Unfortunately, it should be noted how often it is missing, thus generating many problems. If knowledge can be sought and expanded, if emotions can be controlled and managed, a sensitive soul is a manifestation of the work of the Spirit, and only in this case can we speak of sensitivity with a capital "S". The one that makes you close to those who are suffering and/or struggling, the one that helps to welcome and include without ever rejecting or even making the other feel negatively different and missing. The one that makes you able to always put yourself in someone else's shoes, teaches you to read vulnerabilities until they are cured, which makes you amazed and thrilled every time you meet eyes shining with tears or are overwhelmed by a hug. Although it will often be sad and sometimes even painful, a sensitive heart will not give up on loving, just like the father of the Lucanian parable of the prodigal son. A beating heart is sensitive. Unlike the Jewish rites, the believer will not draw comfort from empty ceremonies, but from a "river" that flows from within him, the water of which will give himself and others great joy.

Jesus could say: "If anyone is thirsty, come to me and drink". We should do the same, untying the action and work of the Spirit from personal ambitions and demands. What the Spirit works in us aims at reaching the other in difficulty. And if the Spirit moves in me I will do like Jesus, I will look for the lost sheep, I will heal that wound, knowing that someone will betray me, others will offend me or lie about me. God help me. God help us.

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 28

July 05, Job 30-31; Acts 13: 26-52

July 06, Job 32-33; Acts 14

July 07, Job 34-35; Acts 15: 1-21

July 08, Job 36-37; Acts 15: 22-41

July 09, Job 38-40; Acts 16: 1-21

July 10, Job 41-42; Acts 16: 22-40

July 11, Psalms 1-3; Acts 17: 1-15


Photo by John De Boer,

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