When you think back to summertime as a kid, what comes to mind?
Other than NO SCHOOL OR HOMEWORK, perhaps it was afternoons at the park or in the pool, or the smell of the briquettes getting ready for delicious “tube steaks”. But best of all… summertime meant the return of the neighborhood ICE CREAM TRUCK!
Do you remember that feeling when you’d be outside, playing games with friends under the blazing afternoon sun, drenched in sweat, worn out from the heat, and so thirsty that you were even willing to drink from the garden hose?
Then, all of a sudden, that familiar jingle made its way up the street. With a squeal of excitement, you’d halt whatever game you were in the middle of playing, you’d dig in your pockets (or race inside the house to beg for some cash). Then, as the ice cream truck finally came into view, you’d madly dash to beat the mob that was forming, as all the neighborhood kids descended simultaneously on this vehicle of sweet, thirst-quenching goodness! When it was (finally) your turn, you’d step up to the window and hem and haw over the options — Fudgesicle or Choco Taco? Firecracker or Cyclone? Grape or Orange?
When you’d made your decision at last (Hey, these are important choices when you’re 8!), you’d hand over your coins and take your treat in exchange. You’d collapse on the grass, rip off the paper, and with a contented sigh, you’d take that first bite and feel yourself almost instantaneously being revived.
I know this might sound kinda silly, but these days, whenever I hear the ice cream truck, I think about how it reminds me of Jesus (stay with me). In John 4, Jesus is traveling with His disciples from Judea to Galilee, and along the way they stop to rest at a well in Samaria. Jesus sends His disciples into the nearby town to get food while He stays behind at the well, and as He’s sitting and resting, a Samaritan woman comes to draw water. Jesus asks her for a drink, and the woman responds with surprise, “How is it that You, being a Jew, asks a drink from me, a Samaritan woman? (v. 9)” Jesus replies, “If you knew the gift of God, and Who it is Who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. (v. 10)” He then goes on to tell her, “Whoever drinks of this (well) water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (v. 13-14)”
As kids, we viewed the ice cream truck as this amazing source of life-giving goodness, and we got excited about it! Why? Because we knew the reward that awaited us at the conclusion of the “transaction” would quench our thirst (even if it was only for all of five minutes). How much more amazingly and awesomely exciting is it that God, in His infinite goodness, promises us LIVING WATER in the form of everlasting life? Not only that, He offers it at no cost to us, because He already paid the price through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
So this summer, when you’re sweating it out in the hot sun, and you hear the jingle of the ice cream truck coming your way, consider buying yourself a frozen treat — and as you eat it, thank God for His gift of living water, that’ll quench your spiritual thirst for all eternity!