I am thinking about water tonight.
Specifically, I’m thinking about water in Africa.
Because today, while sitting around a table with precious friends, we talked about what it looks like to be close to Jesus. And it seems like such a simple question, but we found ourselves groping for words to describe – even understand – what that really means.
So I’m thinking about water tonight. Deep, clear, clean, cleansing water. And I’m remembering…
I guess when you have to work for your most basic necessity – water – you remember it a little more. In this case, I remember great rivers, deep rivers, flowing with mighty streams of life giving water. For some of the year. But when the dry season would come, and the rains would stop, that roaring river would slow to a trickle, and the life supply would dry up.
When you need life, and the rains have stopped, and your river dries up – where do you go? How do you quench that soul sucking thirst?
Deeper in the jungle – down a dusty trail stairstepped with gnarled roots of jungle trees – lay a quiet spring. It didn’t rush, it didn’t roar. In fact, it never seemed be more than a couple of feet deep. The water was clean and pure, flowing up from within the earth, fed by unseen underground sources. Every person in my village would get their water from that one spring. It never mattered how many filled their bucket, the spring never ceased to provide life.
But the true miracle waited for those dry, dusty months when the rains stopped. Though the surrounding rivers would dry up, that spring remained the same – never changing, never leaving us thirsty. It was always enough.
Doesn’t that sound just like our Jesus? “… whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
I don’t know about you, but I usually prefer the big, loud rivers. They seem more exciting. They seem more safe – you can SEE that the water is deep and oh how I like to be able to SEE. It feeds that illusion of control, that sense that you know what’s coming, what’s left, and when you need to move on. But then it dries up, and I’m left with that same dry, cracked, thirsty, soul hunting for another source of life. -“For my people… have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.” – Jeremiah 2:13
But Jesus promises us a spring of water WELLING UP to eternal life. Clean, pure, life-giving water. And we usually can’t see the source, but that doesn’t stop us from “tasting and seeing” that the LORD is good! Oh may I drink deep today of His water, and may I camp here and not be lured away by the promises of deeper waters.
And then the transformation! “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:38 We get to participate in the miracle! He feeds us, He nourishes us, He soothes our thirsty souls, and then we get to refresh others with the same water He’s given us!
This, my friends, is what it means to me to be close to Jesus. I still can’t comprehend it, but here is where my soul finds rest.