In Florida these days, rain is rare. In fact when it rained briefly last week, I found myself standing at the window staring out with a prayer of thanksgiving on my lips. Though we are surrounded by water (there are seven bridges in Jacksonville that take us back and forth across the St. Johns River), we are all longing for rain and for the earth's drought to be quenched. Sounds like a good metaphor for our thirsty souls.
Jesus spoke about living water twice. Once to the woman at the well in the gospel of John when he said “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
And a second time again in the gospel of John, in a procession to the pool of Siloam, when he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”
In the Middle East where the sea is called Dead and salty water is almost all there is,fresh water excites people even today. In fact, in the Old Testament there are stories about festivals of joy to celebrate the arrival of fresh water.When the people are told they will receive living water from the Son of Man, they who knew thirst unlike much of the world must have said please, oh please, oh please. And rivers of living water...too good to be true.
We have fresh water at the turn of a handle, enough for drinking, bathing and wasting. But do we have Living Waters? How many of us have thirsty souls? How many of us ask for Living Waters to quench our thirsty souls? What would that look like?
I offer you a beautiful story written by a new friend who has found Living Waters on her journey. This story came to her in a dream the night after surgery; it seems to me that my friend has tasted Living Waters.
Long before as the Son of Man sat by a well, he pondered his purpose, his plan, all that it was that he was to accomplish as he peered down at the sand. Moving across the parched Earth was the tiny little ant, it wandered seeking nourishment finding the water of the well. It wanted to survive he was caught up in its spell. He watched as each moving autonomously and yet collectively while eating honey from a hive that he had taken from a tree. Taking a break from the sun. His journey was long, it was nearly done. “Little ant, I see you, wandering to this place, if you could would you want to see my face?” His words spoke softly as he peered down from the sky, he was an overseer, he could help them live or he could help them die. Taking the honey, he placed some in their path. They stopped moving he had given them a reason to stay, they collected around the honey as if they were beginning to pray. “Little ant, I see you there, I wonder, do you feel despair? If I who is above see you down there, and consider your consciousness unworthy, would that be unfair? Even God above looks down with love, and so I offer you nourishment, I bring you comfort on your way as if Heaven sent. It is my hand that guides you, it is me that shows the way. I care for the single ant, you matter on this day.” He watched them move closely to the drops of golden light, how similar they were to man, how similar their plight. They soon started on their journey again caring honey home, Saviors their kind, He wondered, “What is in your mind?” He had found compassion at a well He had shown them grace. In that moment, He was a Savior to an entire race, and yet they did not know it had come from him, how similar it was to the plight of man. That a God looking down from above, would find them worthy, would cherish them with His love. How often they don’t notice his hand, wandering in circles they know not where to begin. He could crush them with one step, He could erase them with His hand. Yet his love shone brightly from above, it is the size of His heart that mattered, it was defined by His love. To be a Savior, it was His choice to make, as he watched them wandering lost with many afraid. He would empower them with His act, one mighty act of love. He would be that God, who chose to bring Heaven from above. As he sat watching ants he had noticed a woman drawing near, she was a poor servant, she had been taught to live in fear. “Dear woman, draw me water, I grow thirsty in this place, it won’t take much, just a sip from your vase.” As the woman looked deep into His eyes, she saw the Son of Man, and she began to cry. “Lord, I am not worthy, to serve you in this place, I am not worthy to look upon your face,” … His heart grew with compassion, all he felt was love, “Daughter, God has seen you, it is your heart that He loves. Draw a cup of water and give it unto me, and in return I will help your son to see.” The woman’s heart grew heavy, her son was blind from birth, and the Son of Man had known it, he had weighed her sons worth. She drew the water slowly, not wanting to spill a drop. It was her heart’s desire to never have that moment stop. She grasped the handle firmly, she handed him the vase. He sipped the water calmly, then looked at her face, and then he took the vase. Drawing a cup of water, offering her a drink. As she took it, he began to speak. “Drink of this cup and often think of me, I am living waters and I will set you free. I find your heart a marvel, your effort pleases me, now go home for your son has new eyes to see.”
by Madison Taylor