I wake up longing for water…in me, around me, through me. I feel dryness of body, mind and spirit. I want to touch it, feel it, see it, hear it, smell it. Maybe that is what a whirlwind summer does, depletes the supple of water, empties the well. In this state of thirst, it is easy to fear that there is no water.
But with a few quick moments of attention, I see, feel and smell that there is water available, close at hand, within reach, next to my bed, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the back yard. What a gift I am given, to be a person who has access to clean, potable, purified water for my use and for my joy! I become mindful of all for whom this is not the case: those who live in arid lands, those who live far from water supplies, those whose sources of water are polluted by others or rationed by oppressors. God in your mercy, hear our prayer! These weeks I also listen to the reports of those for whom overwhelming waters in hurricanes and spilling river banks are perilous and life-threatening. God in your mercy, hear our prayer!
For my own dryness I take steps to immerse myself in water– drink deeply for the glass, I luxuriate in the shower, I soak the roses from the hose. My body feels the as if it is moving back in to the River of Life. And my soul? where do I go for refreshment and revival. I think again of the encounter of Jesus and the woman at the well of Samaria as he promises her that his gift of water will be a “spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14). Other images from Hebrew Scripture cascade down right after that: from Psalm 1, are the trees planted by the streams of water whose leaves flourish; and from Isaiah 58: 11, the promise that “you shall be like a well-watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never fail.” Here is an image I can bring into my attention, my noticing and awareness–the spring of water that always lives in me by the Spirit.
As the terrors on the news make my throat dry, I can go to the Spring of Living Water to pray for Presence to heal and intervene. As the channels to my heart get clogged with the detritus of hurt and grief, I can call to the River of Life to flow freely through those runnels to wash away the blockages and accretions that block Grace. As I sit parched and inert without creativity and energy, I can go to the wellspring that lives within me by the Spirit, waiting for the streams of living refreshment to bring Life and Joy again. The promise of the Holy One is that those waters, waters in which I was submerged at baptism, will never fail or dry up. Count on it!
And so I go to sleep with visions of water dancing in my head: Water that washes away the clutter and dust, Water that refreshes every cell in my body and soul, Water that heals the bruises and cuts of daily living, Water that energizes my sojourn out to bring water by words and action to the places and people who need to experience that Life of God.
Jesus, Lover of my soul,…spring thou up within my hearts, rise to all eternity. Charles Wesley