Tuesday, July 31, 2012

For Fresh Water

Earlier this year my husband bought me a rainbarrel.
Rainbarrels rely on rain.
There hasn't been as much rain this summer as we normally get,
and much of the time my rainbarrel has been empty.
But what is beginning to dawn on me,
as we have now had the third rain that ought to have filled it,
and I have gone out hoping for water,
only to have less than I should have had,
is that my rainbarrel has a leak.
At first, there was the incredible heat, and I thought it all evaporated.
Then there was an inch of rain in 20 minutes,
and I thought, surely that barrel is full now.
But strangely, it wasn't.
At least, it wasn't for long.
But this last weekend, there was a long soaking rain,
a beautiful misty green rain, and I smiled to myself about my rainbarrel.
I had noticed two wet lines leading to the drain in my driveway
for the last two days, but mentally looked over it.
They were still there this morning.
I put my watering can under the spout to fill it,
and noticed the water pressure was not acting like it was a full barrel.
Weird. Must have debris in the spout.
But when I went for the fourth can, and had to tip it, I knew for certain:
it's leaking.
It can't hold water like it should.

O, for a spring.
For a source of water independent of my efforts.
For fresh water, that doesn't smell rank when I use it.
For water that really can wash, and nourish.
For living water.
I went inside this morning and looked up this passage in Jeremiah 2:
"My people have committed two sins: 
they have turned away from Me, the spring of fresh water, 
and they have dug cisterns, cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all."
What a stupid thing to do.

If my property had a spring, I might engineer an irrigation system.
But what kind of fool would abandon spring water for a stagnant cistern?
And especially for an empty one?
When I was a little girl, I visited people who had an empty swimming pool.
There was a dark, murky bit of green algae water in the deep end.
It was so horrible looking to me, that I still have bad dreams about it.
Some of the cisterns we saw in Israel reminded me of that swimming pool.

No sane person would ever ask me for a drink
if I was sitting next to my rainbarrel with a cup.
In fact, many people post warnings on them
to keep others from trying to drink it.
Stagnant water is poison.
That's why places in the world without fresh water sources
have so much misery.
We wash our hands after handling the water.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. 
Jesus said to her, Give me to drink. 
(For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 
Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, 
How do you, being a Jew, ask a drink of me, who am a woman of Samaria? 
For the Jews do not associate with Samaritans. 
Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, 
and who it is that says to you, Give Me to drink, 
you would have asked of Him, and He would have given you living water.
...Jesus answered and said to her, 
Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again, 
but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, 
but the water that I shall give him shall be in him 
a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
~ John 4:7-14

If the water you're drinking stinks, and evaporates, and runs out,
it may be water -- but it isn't living water.
Perhaps it's time to return to the Source,
and abandon that broken cistern.

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