Readings for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost

Mark 7:14-23; Ephesians 6:10-20; Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-9

Several years ago, the well that had served my childhood home with fresh, clean water for decades suddenly went bad. Stinky, poor quality water now came flowing out of the tap, requiring my parents to dig a new and deeper well. Nebraskans will find this story a familiar one.

In Sunday’s Gospel Jesus talks to us about the true source of our spiritual uncleanness (Mark 7). The problem is deeply rooted in our human nature. The stain of original sin is like a flaw in our spiritual DNA and requires more than just outward changes of behavior. In Christ, we have a new and deeper well to draw from. Drinking this living water of his grace results in more than just outward changes.  He offers the inward changes of a clear conscience and a heart that delights in obeying the Lord.

Sunday’s Old Testament lesson reminds us that God’s teachings are true and righteous, reflecting a design for the world as it was originally made to operate (Deut 4). Our epistle lesson wraps up the book of Ephesians in a climactic way by urging us to “put on the full armor of God”, a wonderful metaphor for how God equips us for battle against sin and Satan in our daily life (Eph 6).