John 7:37-38 – On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (NIV)
Canada contains one-third of the world's water supply in its more than 250,000 lakes. When I visit Niagara Falls in Ontario, I am profoundly impressed by the sheer abundance of water. However, like many rural dwellings, our house is on a well. Since we cannot tell how much water is in it, we must conserve water, particularly throughout the summer, while those who live on waterfront properties boast sprinkler systems and lush green lawns.
We tend to take water for granted in Canada — until the well runs dry. At the time of writing, our grass is parched and brown; the earth is dry and hard as rock. Scanning the sky for clouds, we hope and pray for rain. Most of my flowers are perennials, and somehow, they usually survive — but they don't look happy. Annuals are watered sparingly, using dishwater. Every year, the vegetable garden hardly yields enough to make the work worthwhile.
Sometimes, we witness those on city water carelessly hosing their driveways. They swoosh their grass-clippings down the sewers, while we — if we had any grass left to cut — collect and place mown grass around tomato plants in an effort to keep the earth cool and perhaps a little damp.
Our own well water is hard and not good for drinking. We regularly visit a spring to obtain clear, cold water that gushes continuously from the ground. It never stops flowing, not in the coldest winter, nor in the hottest, driest summer. This underground source cannot be turned off. The water is free, and we can take as much as we like.
Some time ago, the township erected a warning sign, advising that we drink at our own risk. In other places, this same underground source has been closed to the public, since there is no guarantee that it will not cause harm. The warning, however, is ignored. The first time when we went, we met an elderly man who said that he'd been drinking this water all his life. We have been filling our containers there for almost thirty years since then.
Like wells in biblical times, our spring is a place to meet and chat. Weather and water are the usual topics. Water is precious. Without it, we cannot live longer than three days. While waiting for the jugs to fill with fresh clean water, I often think of those in distant places who walk miles for filthy, disease-ridden water. In some countries, the rivers are contaminated in ignorance, while the people worship their gods.
Jesus referred to Himself as living water. We were created with a thirst for a relationship with God that only Jesus can satisfy. If we are thirsting for something, yet know not what it is, Jesus alone can quench that thirst. We will stop searching and find rest only when we invite Him into our lives. Amazingly, a personal relationship with Him is so satisfying that we discover that we want more of Him — to know more, to get closer to Him. Like our spring, the Source never dries up. Jesus is always there for us.
Prayer: Oh God of hope, fill us up with joy and peace, so that our believing lives may brim over with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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