For a good part of this past spring and summer season our shower did not work properly. When I say not worked, I really mean we were only able to chose between two temperatures which I have named: “Really Freaking Hot” and “This is So Hot My Body is Being Scalded”. As the summer temperature began to rise in Tucson taking a shower steadily became less and less desirable. I would get back hot and sweaty from a long run and I wanted a cool shower so badly! I would step in and the first few seconds would be just perfect! I would try to do all my shampooing, conditioning, washing and shaving in that first minute before the scalding began.
Thankfully we have recently gotten the shower fixed (we still don’t have temperature variation but at least our one temperature is tolerable) but it had gotten to the point where I would fill up a cup of cold water from the sink tap and dump it over my head. I would do this over and over again until I had gotten all the shampoo, etc. out of my hair!
When showers ceased to be refreshing, I thought a suitable alternative would be the swimming pool in our complex. Of course I couldn’t wash in the pool, but I could at least go for a dip after a long day or after a run. I would put on my swimsuit and flip flops. walk over to the pool, and get more and more excited as I approached the beautiful blue waters. The pool was so tempting and I couldn’t wait to dive in (so I cannot actuallly dive, so more like awkwardly jump)! Unfortunately I soon found out that the pool was nothing more than bath water during the summer months. Just like my shower experiences, my pool experiences left me disappointed and wanting more.
Last weekend I went hiking with Jon and some friends from church. One of the reasons I agreed to go hiking at 2pm in the summer in Tucson was because a swimming hole was promised to be waiting for us at the end! The hike wasn’t terribly long or strenuous however by the end of it I was sweating profusely. We reached the back of the canyon and there was the pool of water!
There was a slight fear in my mind that this water wouldn’t be anymore refreshing or cooling than my shower or my swimming pool. My fears were put to death as I plunged in and felt the water surrounding me, bringing my body temperature down, down down. It wasn’t just cool, it was downright cold! The water was the refreshment I had been searching for all summer, and even now as I am back in town, away from the pool, I can still feel the effects of it.
As we were hiking back to our car, I couldn’t help but think about how much these experiences reflected Jesus and my relationship with Him. There are many ways in which I expect to find what Jesus can give to me in other places. Places that may look a little bit like Jesus, but are not the real thing. The real thing is unmistakable and life-giving, the real thing satisfies. Just as the water from the swimming hole off of “Milagroso trail” fullfilled my need like no other water source could do this summer; Jesus has fullfilled my needs.
In John 4 Jesus has an interaction with a woman who is sitting at a well:
A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)
The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)
Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”
The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”
The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!”
Some of the things in my life that have looked like Jesus but have left me thirsty for more have been my desires to have a BABY and my need for CONTROL. These are things that look really darn good to me. These are things that are my motivation for many actions and prayers. These are things that seem to whisper to me “I will give you satisfaction”, “I will make you happy” , “If you just have me, you will be closer to God”
But these things are not living water. These things are certainly not Jesus. They appeal to me, I long for them, but they just won’t fill me up no matter how close I get to obtaining them. My quest for them has left my mouth dry and hot and my heart lonely and confused. They look good from far away, but as soon as I get in I am disappointed and sometimes even scalded.
They promise something rewarding, but the more I idolize the ideas of “baby” and “control” the further away I get from God. The further I am from Fresh, Living Water and the closer I am to water that promises one thing but delivers another.
Thankfully these streams of life are eternal. When I feel I am at my breaking point (a place I have been several times in the last year) fresh water flows and sustains me. Jesus reminds me of his goodness in one way or another and I am satisfied.
God is generous, as Jesus explains to the Samaritan woman. He has such great gifts to offer and He has such sweet water to pour out upon us!