There’s something about water that does something to me. Maybe you’re the same way. In my childhood I loved the water. We had an aquarium in the house and I can trace my fascination back at least that far. My parents tell me that I used to swim in the bathtub when I was little. My father describes it as “like a frog” and then his eyes drift away and I can see he’s remembering it. My second job was as a lifeguard. I’ve always been drawn to water.
There’s something about a spring gushing forth fresh, clean water. There’s something about a stream, or “crik” as Grandma Betty would say, cutting back and forth, deep and cold and fast. There’s something about the breadth of a river and the slow and quiet strength of all that water pushing downstream. There’s something about the mouth of that river emptying it all into an ocean, vast and mysterious.
There’s something about a warm spring rain and a cool autumn storm.
Water moves constantly or it becomes something else; mud, sludge, murk or mire. Even underground, it moves. There’s a water cycle of condensation, saturation, evaporation. Glaciers move. Clouds drift. Water must move.
Water brings life. Where there is fresh, clean water, there is life. Water brought life and people built cities. Water brought life to a vast and open frontier and towns or villages would spring up. Water meant it was a place where tribes could camp. Perhaps it’s a hole where the herds can drink or a well that that draws the thirsty and lost. Water brings life.
Water cleanses. There’s a reason it’s the substance of choice for various religions and rituals everywhere. Before those religions, before the birth of those rituals, we saw water clean things. We see cleansing lead to fresh beginnings. We see the old swept away and the new sprout up. Water cleanses.
Now, go and read the story of the woman at the well. Her thirst for something, anything, leads her from inadequacy to brokenness and then failure. Again and again. Then Jesus offers something else, something new.
Jesus brings water that moves her from murk and mire to redemption. Dead to herself, to others and even to her lovers from shame and guilt, Jesus brings life. He provides a place where the lost can quench the deepest thirst. Old, used, dirty and stained, Jesus brings water that cleans. He gives her the chance to sweep the past away and prepare for a new life of pure and natural growth.
It’s hard for us to get past some things about her. We dwell on her being an outcast. We dwell on her adulteress ways. We dwell on her shame and separation and her sin.
Jesus’ only concern was her need. Her thirst was all that was on his mind. His goal was to get her to take a sip of what she truly needed. If He could get her to take a single drink of water, then He was getting somewhere.
Bring water to someone today. Be water for someone today. Find them at their lowest point and be a source of clean, clear refreshment. Be a slow and quiet and strong force of love. Move. Bring life. Cleanse.
There’s just something about water that can do something to all of us.