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Posts Tagged ‘living water’

Jo 17Years ago, I discovered something that intrigued me. I was in the middle of preparing a talk and had become stuck, as I tried to organise my thoughts. So I took a break and went to have a shower. To my surprise, as I stood there, letting that water flow over me and mulling things over in my mind, my input simply fell into place. Somehow, it was as if the water was cleansing not only the outside of me but the inside too, washing away my muddy thoughts and bringing so much more clarity.

Now some might say it was the relaxing effect of that water flowing over me that cleared my mind—and I’m sure that was part of it. But I suspect there was more to it too. It seemed to me that, as the physical water flowed over me, so did the living water from God’s Spirit, inspiring me so I could express myself so much better. And, while I hadn’t swallowed any actual water, I felt I was being filled up on the inside with ‘spiritual water’ somewhere deep in my being, so that the right words were able to form and bubble away there, ready to flow onto the page and eventually out to my audience.

Only a few days ago, I experienced something similar—but not in the shower this time! Twice a week, usually late in the afternoon when no one else is around, I try to make my way up to the heated pool and spa in our Village Centre, not far from our unit. I am quite out of practice as a swimmer, so each week, I challenge myself to do a few more lengths of our smallish pool and improve on my previous efforts. Gradually, I am beginning to enjoy the sensation of that water flowing under and around my body again, now that I don’t have to focus on whether I will make it to the other end of that pool or not! Instead, I can let my mind mull over whatever blog I am writing or whatever talk I am preparing and chat about it all with God as I swim.

It was afterwards, while relaxing in the spa, however, that I felt that lovely, cleansing flow of both actual and living water strongly again. As those super warm bubbles surged around me and the water jets massaged my body, it was as if a curtain lifted from my mind, giving me much clearer direction for my writing projects. Then, once again, I sensed that deep peace and joy filling me up inside. And I knew the Source of this peace and joy was Jesus, who still delights to provide living water today, just as he offered to give that Samaritan woman at the well all those centuries ago (see John 4).

How much I need that beautiful, life-giving water to fill me, so it can overflow to others as I write and speak! How much we all need it, so we can bring light and life to our hurting world!

… Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38

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Right now, I can hear rain falling on our neighbour’s galvanised iron roof. It is steady and soaking, penetrating deep into the soil, as I discovered yesterday when pulling out the many weeds that had emerged during our recent time away. Yes, this rain will cause them to grow more—but it will also refresh the plants and shrubs, giving them a wonderful new lease on life.

This was not the case in my sister’s garden in Bendigo, however, when we visited her a fortnight ago. There, they were longing for rain. The ground was dry and parched, with even the small native plants and shrubs struggling to survive. Each time those clouds appeared in the sky, all bets were on as to whether they would provide that much needed refreshment for the land and that top-up for their tanks.

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Snowy Mts, Australia

On our way home, we decided to travel via the Alpine Way through Thredbo and Jindabyne. At one point, we saw something white and gleaming in the distance. Eventually, we discovered it was not snow we had glimpsed but huge water pipes, part of the Snowy Mountains Scheme. As well as providing around ten per cent of all electricity needs for New South Wales, this scheme supplies vital water to the farming industries of both inland New South Wales and Victoria. What a huge undertaking, to harness all that water and power on such a massive scale! Yet how important this venture has been, not only in providing that much-needed energy but also in bringing refreshment and life to our land.

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Snowy Mts, Australia

Then in a spot not far away from these huge pipes, I discovered how those Snowy Mountain waterways can also provide another form of refreshment. As I stood on the banks of a beautiful, clear stream, listening as it tumbled and gurgled along over smooth stones, I could not help but relax inside and be so thankful for the beauty before me. God seemed so close, as if desiring to speak to me through it all. Then I remembered some favourite yet challenging verses from Psalm 42:

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

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Nth-east Turkey

Over the years, whenever we sang a popular worship song based on that verse, I often felt I should stay silent. I would ask myself how much I honestly did pant and thirst for God, as the writers of this psalm did. Yet now when I put time aside to seek God, to listen to those streams of living water and to truly receive them in my spirit, how refreshing and life-giving it is!  And perhaps it is that longing to be close to God that draws me to those beautiful streams in our Snowy Mountains—and elsewhere too. During a visit to Turkey some years ago, I can well remember sitting with a friend by the mountain stream pictured here and placing our peaches we planned to eat for lunch in the water to cool them. Then we simply sat and prayed together, enjoying God’s presence and receiving deep refreshment to our souls.

May you too remember to sit beside that stream of God’s living water often and harness all the refreshment God longs to give you in your life.

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In recent years, I have learnt a few things from our grandchildren. They are all wonderful, of course! Our oldest, Amy—eager, out-going, energetic, blonde and beautiful. Our second oldest, Olivia—warm, a little more introverted, quick sense of humour, brown-eyed and equally beautiful. And our youngest, Zain—almond-shaped eyes, black curls from his Ghanaian dad, gorgeous grin and yummy, milk-chocolate skin! It is a delight to watch them all grow and develop.

Each of them is unique and has had a different reaction when visiting us, we have noticed. When Amy, now ten, was around twelve months old, I well remember her parents walking into our home, holding this cute, blue-eyed little girl who stared solemnly at us. We stared back, absolutely spellbound. We could not take our eyes off her. Eventually, she would frown heavily, scrunch her whole face up, reach out her arm and point her finger in some other, distant direction. Clearly, she was ordering us to take our gaze elsewhere! She did not appreciate being such an object of curiosity and wanted to make her feelings known. Even then, she was mastering the ancient art of deflection.

This picture of Amy came to mind last week, when I read the account of Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). I love this story for so many reasons. I love the way Jesus treats this woman with respect, even merely by speaking to her. I love how he cares enough about her to offer her ‘living water’. I love how he tries to break it gently to her that he knows all about her. And, most of all, I love how he chooses to declare to her who he really is—‘I who speak to you am he.

But my heart goes out to this Samaritan woman, as she interacts with Jesus. Can you imagine how you would feel if some stranger told you everything you ever did, as this woman herself puts it later (v39)? No wonder she seems to grasp at any straw and chooses to dabble big-time in that ancient art of deflecting! No wonder she, just like little Amy, tries to point Jesus in an entirely different direction and wriggle out of the situation!

Perhaps her question about the right place to worship was serious and important to her, perhaps it wasn’t. Whatever her thoughts at that point, I can relate to them. With stunning clarity, I see myself in this woman’s response to Jesus. Even when I know much better, how many times do I try that same ancient art of deflection? How many times do I know what Jesus is saying to me, yet I seek to centre his attention elsewhere, foolishly asking him other questions that don’t matter nearly so much?

At last I sit still, listening to the One who knows all about me. Now I put down my arm and stop pointing elsewhere. Now I give him space in my day and in my heart and mind to be who he really is—the Messiah, the Christ, the Saviour of the world sent from God to set us free.

I hear him say to me today, ‘I who speak to you am he.’ And, like the Samaritans of that town, because of his words, I believe.

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