We have a saying in Mexico that states, “Oh, Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States.” This is not a blessing. Sharing a three-thousand-mile-long border has meant tensions across time. Currently the flow of undocumented persons over that border from Mexico and Central America has created a major crisis, especially with the new reality of children crossing as they flee hunger, poverty, and drug gangs in their countries.
This text imagines a “new Jerusalem,” a Jewish concept and longing from ancient times. The temple in Jerusalem was God’s dwelling place and thus symbolized God’s presence on earth, which completely upended all unjust realities.
The promise of water as life hearkens back to Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, and we rejoice that a new earth with springs of refreshing, life-giving water is possible. It will also not be temporary but permanent. When the text declares that “It is done!” it implies that it is not simply an end but a goal, and goals require conscientious work on our part to achieve them.
What does God’s dwelling in our midst therefore demand of us, especially in the face of an unjust world? From the Old Testament prophets we learn that there can be no peace unless there is justice, which we can then surmise to be a basic element of creating a new earth.
This text reinforces that life begins and ends with God and that God’s words are “trustworthy and true.” God’s new creation will entail God’s presence among us; God is near, accompanying, creating—and that gives us hope!
God of justice and hope, help us to be aware of the foreigners in our midst. Amen.