I had a whole post ready in my brain about an hour ago. In that hour I raced through my night-time ritual so I could climb into a warm bed with my laptop perched in front of me, next to a snoring Springer Spaniel and a twitching giant husband. However, those ablutions were hi-jacked in the middle because I couldn't find my water bottle. If you have ever been in my presence you'll know what this means: All hands on deck, RED ALERT. I don't go anywhere without my water. I mean I don't walk out the door, even just to run to the store, without it filled so full with ice that I can hardly screw the lid down on it. I'm absolutely addicted to water. Every hour of every day. Even at church, I sneak a smaller version in in my purse.
Mostly this is because so many of the medications I take for the nerve damage has the side effect of dehydration and cotton mouth, and partly because I don't drink any other liquid besides tea (and occasionally coffee). But whatever the reason, if I actually don't drink any water through the night, sure as anything I'll wake up with a migraine. I know a whole lot of you can't imagine that since you have to get up several times a night (Beve!), but not me. All that to say, that missing Starbucks water bottle is more worrisome than missing my phone, which I misplace with such regularity it's like I'm actually allergic to it. Hmm, maybe I am.
And I'm usually quite proficient at finding what's lost around here. I'm not called 'the finder of all lost things' for nothing. But tonight I was stumped. Then annoyed. Then threw up my hands in disgust at my inability to retrace my steps. Finally grabbed another lidded cup from the summer stash and went on my merry way.
Then, as I was pulling back the covers to get into bed, there was my own cup, perched on its side between the bed and the nightstand. I must have knocked it over sometime during the day when I set it down. Don't ask me why or when.
Anyway, rather than the post I'd intended (which has been swept clean from my brain after all that), I'm thinking about water and thirst. I used to hate water. I hated the taste of it growing up. Only drank it when there were no other options. I liked it at our cabin, drinking straight from the well, or out of the dipper from one of the buckets we'd hauled up the meadow and onto the cabin's porch. When it was hot and we'd been playing, that dipper of fresh water was the best thing in the world. But at home, where our water was hard and our glasses were those colored metal glasses everyone seemed to have in the sixties, the taste was too metal-ly for my liking. I'd screw up my face and down it like medicine. And taking medicine with it was like a double dose for me.
But somehow along the way, water became sweet and good and life-giving. The best drink of all.
And this, I think, is exactly where Jesus starts when He sits on the wall of a well and talks to a woman who has to come out in the heat of the noonday sun to fetch her quota of water, because she was, of all things (gasp!) a Samaritan, which was akin to being a prostitute. And, given her life-choices, it isn't a stretch to imagine she was quite a loose woman, loose enough that she was ostracized. But the text implies that it's her nationality that keeps whole village from allowing her in. Jesus paid no heed to this, of course. Jesus spent his ministry seeking those whom society had ostracized. The marginalized were His people group. And in John 4, He takes what she's seeking on a material level and uses it to speak to a spiritual need.
First, He asks her for water. Jesus asking for exactly what she most needs. This is a remarkable thing. Stop with me and think of this. We are the ones who are most thirsty, who most need water. But He asks for water because He, too, is made of flesh and bone and feels thirst. This moment reminds us of His human-ness. And it reminds us that we have something to give Him. We can serve Him.
But the primary serving is not what we do for Him, but what He does for us. That is the service that transcends our physical need. "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water." It is for us to ask Him. I think we forget this. I think we forget to ask Him to quench our thirst for Him. Or maybe even to create that thirst. To open our eyes so that we know to ask Him for it.
The Samaritan woman is told that water from the well is all well and good but she'll get thirsty again. And I can certainly attest to that. My thirst is NEVER assuaged completely. But thirst for the LIVING water is a different thing. "Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
This is the water within. It's what flows out and never runs out. It's what we are and what we do and where we'll end up, if we walk with Him. We are His springs and all those who come near us have the chance to drink from the well of the Living water that He's given us. That the Holy Spirit IS when He dwells within us. Even during those times when we feel like nothing more than dry bones in a desert, He is living water. We don't have to feel it, these words of Jesus are His promise in red letters.
In you, in me, springs of water.
Drink up, well up, overflow your banks. Flood the world in which you live.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go get a drink. I'm still a little thirsty.