Our devotional reading for the commemoration of Sarah comes from A Year in the Old Testament.
When you face difficult circumstances, take heart! Amid Sarah’s barrenness, God promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed in his offspring, and He fulfilled that promise in Christ. Just as He worked through Sarah’s seemingly impossible circumstance to bless all nations with the greatest of gifts, you can trust that God will provide for your every need.
The river of life flows, and life blooms in its wake. The waters flow through the barren landscape, and there is fruit. The waters flow and the barren womb gives birth. The waters flow from the holy temple, bringing and bearing life.
The wilderness has been barren for so long. It is the haunt of jackals; the vultures circle the sky, feasting upon the death. It is a dry and barren land, full of dry and lifeless bones. The land has no life and supports no life. Where there is no life, life does not spring up. There is nothing to feed and nourish; nothing to water its root. Desolation, famine, a dry and barren wilderness as far as the eye sees, even beyond. The landscape of sin and corruption stretches forth like a blanket of death. There is no life.
Into this bleak and barren land the LORD has come. He has come into His temple. He has come by means of a barren womb to bring life. He is the water of life, the river of life that flows.
From the courts of the temple, the river flows. Waters seep out from its gates. Living waters spring forth from its thresholds. Life-giving waters pour from its font. Into the wilderness the river flows, life blooming in its wake. Into the barren land, life comes as the waters feed and nourish. Life springs up in its midst. Life appears along its banks. Trees grow and bear fruit as their roots plunge into those life-giving, life-sustaining waters. Wherever it flows, the river produces life.
Indeed, this river of life flows where it wills. Nothing can stop or impede its advance. It flows to all nations, into every land. It distributes life-giving grace to all who are brought to its healing waters. Fruit springs forth, for it flows from the holy sanctuary. There are places remaining of death and desolation. Swamps and marshlands of salt exist, for they have rejected those living waters. Yet, where the fresh and living waters flow, there, in that place, is life.
The river of life flows, and life blooms in its wake. Along its banks grow trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Their fruit will be for food and for healing, because the water for them flows from the holy sanctuary, from the courts of the LORD’s house, from the new temple, from heavenly Jerusalem. There is life!
Lord and Father of all, You looked with favor upon Sarai in her advanced years, putting on her a new name, Sarah, and with it the promise of multitudinous blessings from her aged womb. Give us a youthful hope in the joy of our own new name, being baptized into the promised Messiah, that we, too, might be fruitful in Your kingdom, abounding in the works of Your Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Devotional reading and prayer are from A Year in the Old Testament, pages 20–21 © 2012 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.