Living Water, Quiet Thunder
"On reaching the rocks below, all the waters flowed together in a glorious host, forming an exuberant rushing torrent which swirled triumphantly around and over the rocks....Laughing and shouting at the top of their voices, they hurried still lower, down through the meadows to the next precipice and the next glorious crisis of their self-giving." --(Hannah Hurnard, Hnd's Feet on High Places)
"....He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul." (Psalm 23)
It seems to me that water is more than just an essential life-sustaining natural element in the physical realm of creation. Its unique properties have always captivated the human mind and emotions in a way that nothing else can. Water babbles, it gurgles and it sings. It ripples and it ebbs and flows. It rains down and it cleanses. It may flood in as a torrent or steal in on the cloud. It restores, revives and refreshes. It cascades and eddies.
It has the power to calm and to soothe as well as to invoke awe within us. It inspires. It purifies and it heals. By its very nature water invites meditation and reflection. Its gracefully fluid contours strike a transcendent and contemplative chord within the longing human soul that is both mysterious and profound. At every level of human experience ...physical, emotional and spiritual...water is able to satisfy us deeply, and we are inexorably drawn to it.
Water can enrapture and intrigue both artist and philosopher, yet it is just as likely to engross the senses of the smallest and most innocent child with joy and pleasure and sheer delight.
It conceals things in its depths and reveals things up above.
The first chapter of the Bible (Genesis) begins this way......
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light.'" (Genesis 1: 1,2)
...and the last chapter of the Bible begins with these words....
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb...." (Revelation 22: 1)
Over and over throughout the Scriptures, water is used to help shed light on essential spiritual matters. Water seems to have an intrinsic quality (beyond the physical) that is able to draw the human soul and spirit through wonder toward ultimate meaning and Divine communion.
- It was through the parted waters of the Red Sea that the Israelites found deliverance out of Egyptian bondage. (Exodus 14: 21, 22)
- Water graciously flowed from the rock in the desert wilderness to satisfy a thankless, thirsty and faithless people.(Exodus 17: 6)
- The psalmist writes of the soul-restoring properties of the "still waters". (Psalm 23)
- Heaven itself was opened up when Christ was "coming up out of the water" at his baptism in the Jordan River (Mark 1: 10)
- Jesus characterizes the person of the Holy Spirit as "streams of living water" (John 7: 37-39), and He told the woman at the well that He could, in fact, give her this "living water" (John 4: 7-10).
- Even the audible manifestation of God's voice was like "the sound of rushing waters" to the beloved apostle John when he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos. (Revelation 1: 15)
I am convinced that the natural element of water is... (among other things)... a most powerful spirit-persuader, a "messenger" and a natural "truth-carrier" from the very heart and mind of God. Indeed, it seems to be a physical metaphor...or a "shadow"...directing us to the true Eternal Light. Water seems to be a medium that God, in his infinite wisdom, has created and placed before us (his image-bearers) to help point the human heart and soul homeward....
"Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf
Then will the lame leap like a
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs."
(Isaiah 35: 5-7)
"The voice of the LORD is over the waters, the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters." (Psalm 29: 3)
Good Shepherd, lead us beside still waters
And give us the Grace to wonder, to reflect, to listen
and to drink deeply at this spring.
And as we pray and meditate, help us then to see
with the eyes of the heart.
Teach us there to knock and seek and ask.
Then, Lord, let there be light.
Help us hear your quiet thunder;
Plant the seed of Faith within us
and water it that it may grow.
Lord, deliver us.
Change the water into wine.
Fill each cup to overflowing
As we anticipate the wedding of the Lamb...
Restore our soul.
Please, Lord, take us...
to the Cross.