Hello Friends.You know all people and creatures crave closeness to water. That's why most of the earth's population hugs the shorelines of its continents. Maybe it's because we are made almost entirely of water. Maybe it is because we started our life in water, living in it and breathing it before our birth. Maybe it is because almost none of us get the recommended daily dose of water we need to be optimally hydrated, so that whether we recognize it or not, our bodies are constantly thirsty.
Living water comes freely and fully from God. Living water comes untouched by human contact. But just because this living water is offered freely to us doesn't mean that it wasn't obtained at a price. The true price was paid by Christ on the cross to redeem humanity and creation. So if the gift of Christ is to offer us living water; if the redeemed community of faith is always standing ankle deep in living water: why are we so parched?
But God wants us wet. In the first creation, God as the Master Potter could not work with the earth, the dirt, until it was wet. Dirt and water make mud, or clay, and you and I are clumps of clay that the Divine Potter scooped out of the ground and breathed into these beautiful mud pies, called us, the breath of God. For God to continue to mold us and shape us, our clay must be moist. What keeps your clay moist? What's your moisturizer? If your clay hardens, and loses its wetness, your soul gets hard, brittle and bitter.
We are called to be "wet and wild." We are to be dunked, deluged, dripping with the living water we have received. The world should be able to trace our tracks in its midst by following our sloppy, wet footprints. God wants us wringing wet so that we have plenty of living water for God to mold and make us with and to offer the next generations.
There are some tiny little invertebrates that are known as tardigrades, or "water bears." Have you heard of them? They're called "water bears" since under a microscope they look a bit like miniscule gummy bears. They live in small ponds and in the moist pockets of mosses and lichens. When their environment changes, when the water they depend upon begins to evaporate, tardigrades have the ability to lose up to 95% of their body water. They can survive for decades in this dehydrated, inactive state, simply waiting for the next big gully-washer to restore their liquid environment and re-animate their existence.
I hate to tell you this, but we were not created water bears. Living water cannot be put on the shelf and saved forever. Living water must be poured out continually in order to keep the stream of the Spirit alive from one generation to the next. Just because you watered your garden last year doesn't mean you don’t have to water it this year.
Living water is not a flood that wipes out everything else in life. True living water is always supplied in just the right amounts. When the perfect level of living water is flowing through our lives there is no limit to what we can grow, to what we can accomplish. When the living water flows, "all things are possible."
Two hours outside of the tiny community of La Macarena, Columbia, there is a remote river known as Cano Cristales. Like most rivers of the world, the water flow of Cano Cristales is tied to the seasons. In the wet, rainy season, the river flows deep and has strong currents. It is clear and cool. During the dry season the water levels drop, the water temperatures rise, pools become puddles, strong rapids become small rivulets.
But for a small window of time, when the water levels are just right, when the temperatures are just right, when the amount of sunlight is just right, the Cano Cristales is transformed into the most colorful river in the world. During those few short weeks the waters of this little known river are so reborn that it is known as "the river that ran away to paradise." Don't believe me? The previous and following photos are of the Cano Cristales. (my MOM did not take these. Got them off the interwebs)
Natural pools and waterfalls blaze with the colors of the living plants. Nothing could more beautifully illustrate "living water."
Nothing, that is, unless it is the chicken casserole you take to the shut-in neighbor. Nothing, that is, unless it is the ride home you give to kids whose parents can’t be bothered. Nothing, that is, unless it is volunteering to clean up the huge mess "coffee time" makes of the church vestibule every week. Nothing that is, unless it is sitting by the side of someone who is ill. Nothing that is, unless it is walking dogs at a shelter and rubbing their bellies.
Living water must be continually poured out into the church, into the community, into our homes, into our world. Unless living water is poured out, it goes stagnant and stale.
Water is powerful. What was the unstoppable power behind the creation of those huge canyons in the beautiful "Grand Canyon?" That power was water. Whether gently flowing, torrential floods, unyielding torrents, water that moves and the movements of water have changed and charted our world.
Living water will do the same, if we give it a place to reside. Let the power flow my Friends. Let yourself get wet. God’s new creation is water based. And we are God’s new creation . . . born of water and the Spirit. Keep wet my Friends.