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‘God says, forget the past … Don’t you see?’

We like new things, don’t we? We love the smell of a new car. We look for the newest gadgets, the faster computer, the newest cell phone. We like new things or at least some of us do. But there are some things we’re not so quick to change. Things we like to do the traditional way, the way we’ve always done it. We also like what we’re comfortable with. But we do like new things, we’re just not so sure about change.

In Isaiah 43, God is talking to people who want something new but aren’t really sure about wanting to change. This passage was directed to the Israelites who were in exile. They had been torn from their promised land in Israel and taken to the strange land in Babylon where they had to live as aliens.

But when the Persians took over from the Babylonians, the exiles had started to get more comfortable, and when they had the opportunity to go back to Israel, and rebuild the temple and their lives there, they weren’t so sure about doing that — it looked like a lot of work just when things were starting to go all right.

So what does God through Isaiah say to them? God says, forget the past, see I am doing a new thing, don’t you see it. God wants to shake them out of dwelling on the past.

This is a God who is still at work, still transforming, still doing something new. In this passage he does it through water, transforming wasteland into productive green land.

Water is an important symbol for us in our baptism, our transformation into God’s children. In our baptism, using water, we are to die to our old selves, and to be transformed into God’s chosen tools. Water is a symbol of sustenance, it is absolutely necessary for our survival, we are born in water, water cleanses us, refreshes us, wakes us up. Water is a wonderful symbol of renewal, of transformation.

God is doing something new here with us today, don’t you feel it? This morning as you splashed water on your face to wake up, I wonder if you felt God’s transformation in you.

Yes, we like new things, but we are often afraid of change. Be open to God’s changes in you. Open your eyes to the new things God is doing with you and with all those around you. Let God’s living water transform you.

Rev. Dale Brown is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian churches. His email address is dalembesq@aol.com.