Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Water for the way home

Traditions in our family often morph from various branches of the family tree. And the one I'm thinking about today is a tradition which came from my sister and her then-husband who is Iranian.  I should probably call the Dump to ask the specific significance of this practice, but she's a working engineer and this is the middle of the day, after all.

But here's the tradition.  Whenever someone is taking leave from us, we get a glass of water and throw it onto the car as they drive off.  Perhaps the meaning is, "May the river of life take you safely home." Or, "May the waters bring you back to us again." In any case, we have been known to race into the house because the goodbyes have been said, the car is running and the glass of water has been forgotten. When our children were younger they were quite the sticklers that we not forget, either.  Sometimes the water was dumped on the road in front of the car, sometimes on the back bumper, sometimes thrown directly   Water onto the front windshield.  Needless to say, there are some kinks in this tradition that we've never quite worked out.

However, it came to mind this morning, because I was reading John 4, where Jesus speaks to the woman at the well, telling her He has living water.  It suddenly hit me that in some symbollic way we are sprinkling the living waters on the journeys of those who visit us.  Sending them off with Jesus before them and behind them.  Speeding them on their way with the prayer that He give them not just water that splatters on their car or pavement but that settles in their hearts and quenches their thirst.  And praying that they return on their next visit more alive with His living water. 

"...You would have asked Him and He would have given you living water," He told the Samaritan woman.  He tells you and me this as well.  Water to quench our thirsts and water to give us life.  "...Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."  John 4: 10, 14

Water.  Beautiful, clear, life-giving water. If His water is thrown on your life, you'll be well on your way home.

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