Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere!!!

Two weeks ago I spent a week in the southern California desert at Murrieta Springs. We stayed on the very lovely campus of Calvary Chapel Bible College. The hot springs flow downhill to bubble up in rock pools all along the path through the campus ending at the beautiful fishing lake. We were there for a Family Retreat sponsored by Joni and Friends International.

Family Retreats are five-day summer "get-aways" across the United States and now even in several foreign locations. These Family Retreats are specifically designed to serve families and individuals affected by disability.

As I walked around the CCBC campus, I marveled at how lovely it was even in the heat of noon (not my favorite time of day). There are the springs and then there are the fountains - many of them. It is as though one is never far from the sound and sight of running water. It truly is a place where there is "water, water everywhere." (from "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner")

Since I was serving as a "short term missionary (STM)" at a camp/retreat designed to serve families and individuals affected by disability, I reflected on the unique appropriateness of that setting particularly for people who have either a visual or hearing disability. For those who struggle with hearing, there is the beauty of the water in rock pools, fountains, other pools and the lake. For those disabled in sight, there is the constant sound of running water. There is hardly a place to walk or sit where running water cannot be heard.

My memories of this lovely setting will long be in my heart as real "keeper treasures"!

One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well outside Samaria one hot day. (John 4:1-42) She came seeking water. She came alone. She came when she thought no one else would be around. She knew she was the town pariah - shunned because of the life she had chosen to live. She was an outcast among the Samaritans. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews and considered outcasts. To be an outcast from the outcasts is about as low as one can go.

Like the woman who encountered Jesus at the well over 2,000 years ago, we all need water for our bodies (It's the one thing we absolutely cannot live without!). But, even more, we need the Living Water Jesus offered to her and offers to us as well!

I happen to be a "pale-face" in the literal sense. The sun and I are not great friends. The sun does bad things to my skin particularly in the hot hours of the day. For years my family have laughed at me when we went to the beach. There they were soaking up rays while I was slathered in the highest degree sunscreen, sunglasses and hat for brief periods of time.

It takes more than sunscreen and moisturizer to replenish sun-damaged skin. AND it takes a lot more to replenish the sin-damaged heart! Only Living Water will do! Jesus offers Himself to every sin-damaged heart. He invites us to come to Him and drink deeply of the water He gives which is the spring to eternal life. Jesus said, "Everyone who drinks this water (the water from the well outside Samaria) 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 artisan spring within, gushing fountains of endless life." (John 4:13-14, The Message)

So, my friend, drink deeply! Gulp it up! Be refreshed deep in your soul by that Living Water Who is God Himself - Jesus! Now, that's heart restoration at its best!

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