“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’” ~ Revelation 7:17
I read a meditation this past week by Dallas Willard. He wrote about the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt while on their way to the Promised Land. The people had been whining about how much better things were in Egypt for miles and miles. They had no water, to make matters worse, and they were blaming Moses for bringing them here. So, Moses and his brother Aaron went off to pray about this. God told them to gather everyone together and then to speak to the rock right before their eyes and the rock will pour out its water and the community and the animals can drink. So Moses did, mostly. (Numbers 20:1-13)
Dallas asked three reflection questions. If you examine a rock and picture what happened within it when the water flowed, how do you picture that gush of water? As a drinking fountain spout? As a waterfall? Spraying Moses?
I thought about this and three incidents from my life came to mind. Thinking about “spraying Moses” I thought about my baptism. I was a grown up age 24 when I was baptized. This had nothing to do with what I thought about baptism, but what I thought about water, dunking specifically. I did not want to be under water. I try not to think about under water. But sprinkling, pouring, spraying, splashing, that’s another story. After Jesus was baptized in the river, after God called him his Beloved Son and told him he was pleased with him, what did he do? I envision Jesus, laughing, splashing water – maybe splashing those around him in his joy and delight. I did none of these, although I’ve see it happen, but I felt clean and new.
Reflecting on “waterfall” I recall my experience of what some call the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Experience may not be a good word for it, because when people prayed for me to receive this, I experienced nothing noticeable. I thought that it probably didn’t take when I listened to the stories of others. I expected some big emotional something. I do, however, most of the time keep a tight rein on my emotions, so in retrospect, it is not really surprising that I didn’t feel anything. But this changed my life. I couldn’t get enough of the Bible, praying, and being around the people of God with prayer that healed me, teachings that grew me, community that supported me, and I received gifts for service as well. The waterfall is not often a rushing waterfall, in my case, but more like a gentle shower that soaks me through and through with abundance.
Lastly, while thinking about the “water fountain” which nourishes us with water needed for living, my thoughts go toward the Eucharist – Holy Communion, which I have learned, I cannot live without. This reflection fountain is not actual water, but bread and wine taken in community. Once in a deep, dark period, I found I could make it through the week if I went and received communion twice a week but not if I didn’t. I still try my best to go twice, at least, because this is still the water of life for me.
What would you notice if you were to reflect on the gush of water from the rock? What would that “water” be? Are you splashing around in it? Or quietly letting it wash over you? Where is the Water of Life nourishing you today? Where do you need it? And again, where do I?
Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” ~ John 7:38