Living Water

I took a picture of this same scene in March, when the plants were lush and green. I knew they wouldn’t stay that way for long.  It’s really dry here, and the summer gets too hot for much to stay green without some tender care.

Just a few short months later, I snapped the scene pictured above. It goes to show that not even the most native of plants can withstand the heat and dryness here. Not in a lush, green sort of way, at least.

Heading into this summer, I knew not to underestimate this climate. I was determined to give even more water to the plants in my front yard than I had before, and to do so more often. So far, it has been paying off. I haven’t lost any plants this summer (unlike last summer, unfortunately).

As I have faithfully watered my plants throughout these last few months, the thought has crossed my mind that perhaps I am not drinking enough water myself.

There are so many benefits to drinking water. Too many to list. But there are a few that are especially pertinent to this moment in time. They are as follows:

  1. Drinking enough water in hot weather keeps one from getting dehydrated.
  2. Drinking enough fluids in general helps in the recovery of illness.

Considering that we are still experiencing the heat of summer during a pandemic, how much more important it is to drink enough water!

I speak of this in a literal sense, but I urge us even more so to consistently drink of the living water.

In John 4, Jesus talks to a Samaritan woman about this very topic. Weary from travel, He asks her for a drink of water from a well. In response, she questions why He would ask her for a drink since the Jews and Samaritans didn’t have anything to do with each other.

 Jesus answered her, “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.”

John 4:10

He responds to her similarly a few verses later as they continue to converse.

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

Although the Samaritan woman is never explicitly told what Jesus meant by this living water, its explanation is given a few chapters later.

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”  Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John 7:37-39

As believers, we have been given this living water because the Holy Spirit dwells within us. The question, then, is are we drinking from it daily? Are our lives regularly empowered by the Holy Spirit?

The weather may be cooling down within the next few months, and we may not have as great a need for water physically. However, the spiritual, political, emotional, and mental climate is not. The truth is, we are all going through a fire of sorts in this moment of history. We can all feel the heat. And the “news forecast” only promises hotter weather in the future. So what will we do to withstand it?

If we want to be like the tree described in Psalm 1, then perhaps we need to take a similar approach to the one taken with my plants this summer. We need to water our souls even more and a lot more often.

Let’s do so by asking God to truly fill us with His Spirit each day, and let’s abide in Christ and His Word even more than we ever have before. Perhaps, in doing so, we will be able to even refresh others in the heat, dryness, and barrenness of this season. Let’s be that spring of water that will draw others to the living water.

*For more information on how to live a Spirit-filled life, visit https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/the-spirit-filled-life.html

Blooming Bushes

Liam and I skipped our daily walk a few days ago, but when we resumed it the following morning, I was delighted to see that all of the green bushes bordering the pathway were bursting forth in full color with hundreds of tiny, purple blossoms.

It was a good reminder to me that life doesn’t always just suddenly change for the worse. It can change for the better, too.

There are plenty of present-day examples of this–an engagement or beginning of life as a married couple, a positive pregnancy test, a new job, a promotion, a move to a new city (or new residence, for that matter), or a granted scholarship promising further education and adventures to come. Life is full of positive changes, some more unexpected than others.

As I think about how quickly circumstances can change, I’m hopeful in knowing that this year can swifty improve as well.

The truth is, all our present trials are like an insect under God’s foot. He could squash them whenever He chooses. He doesn’t need the strategies we have worked so hard to implement this year nor the remedies or solutions that we are currently striving to find.

It would be nothing to Him to cause these present problems to dissipate.  He is God, and there is no one or no thing more powerful than Him.

Nonetheless,  He has allowed these current difficulties to continue for this season for His good purposes, and we have to choose to believe that and to fuel our faith in the beauty that He is bringing out of ashes. I know I’ve heard several stories about individuals placing their faith in Jesus as a result of these present trials. I’m so thankful that people are finding new life in Christ in the midst of a year that is so focused on sickness and death.

Still, I’m encouraged to pray that the fullness of God’s work through this pandemic will come to a completion soon, and I’m hopeful that its end will be just as unexpected and beautiful as the purple blossoms on all those blooming  bushes.