In March 2002, I was at a Presbytery meeting in 100 Mile House and although I had been trying to take one day at a time, recently several days and several major life events and losses were piling up all at the same time. There was a `straw-that-breaks-the-camel’s-back’ moment at the meeting and I was `done in.’ I had a bit of an emotional meltdown. To my relief and gratitude, my host, my congregational members and colleagues were wonderfully supportive.
On Sunday, as we gathered for worship, the scripture was this gospel of the woman at the well. Peggy Jensen preached and it was lovely. After church, my host’s 7 year old daughter Laura, handed me a card that she had made in Sunday School. I believe she meant to say, `Get Well Soon.’ But that’s not quite what the card said. It actually read: “Get a Well Soon.” Which, when you think of the gospel message, was absolutely perfect. I have kept that card and put it in place so safe I can’t find it – but still – it gives me joy to think of it.
Get a Well Soon – what a brilliant idea. For clearly, my soul was in need of Living Water. And clearly Jesus conversation with the often maligned woman at the well, was an offering of Living Water. “Get a Well Soon”, Jesus could have said.
“Not this one, this ancestral well of Jacob, Leah and Rachel, which indeed serves its purpose of quenching our physical thirst. But let your spirit drink deeply of God’s love for you.
Julian of Norwich, the English mystic born in 1342 – 675 years ago, wrote: “As truly as there is in God a property of compassion…so truly there is in God a property of thirst and longing… Spiritual thirst will last in God as long as we are in need, drawing us up to God’s bliss.”
And I know this. I know this with my whole self – but I don’t always live it – Sometimes I operate more like one who uses their fabulous gurgle pot to put dried flowers in, instead of life-giving water. The Holy Spirit is our always available, always refreshing, living water- but we need to stop and rest and drink deeply of it. The invitation is there, always.
Musician Jim Manley, wrote in the 1980’s “We’ve tried everything there is to drink, from coke to mountain streams. And some of us have lost ourselves in wine and smoky dreams. But now we know we’re thirstier than how we were before, so send your living water, until we thirst no more.”
Some of you have experienced the Healing Pathways program, which I first learned about at Naramata Centre, and various congregations host training events in the practice. At risk of over simplifying – you work with a person’s energy field, helping clear the energy centres of the body, restoring healing and balance to body, mind and spirit. As a healing pathways practitioner, you don’t draw on your own energy though, you let yourself be a channel for God’s love and blessing to flow through you. Yes, just like the beautiful song by St. Francis 800 years ago – Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.
I have from time to time been the recipient of this healing blessing. I have never had the same experience twice – but always, always, I have had such a sense of Divine Love, of the Holy Spirit.
At one session, I felt like the energy in my body was clogged and muddied like some slow-moving sludge – like a stream that had been blocked and stagnated with garbage. However, as I trusted in the loving energy helping me open to the Divine – the Holy Spirit – I gradually felt a shift in my energy – like a stream was being lovingly tended – think of a group of school kids, pulling debris – old plastic bags and pop bottles, broken branches, those old car tires that someone rolled down the hill… Slowly but surely, I felt a quickening – I felt as if fresh clean water was trickling through my body, flushing away all the debris – all the garbage of stuck emotion, negativity, fear, and I felt open and trusting and welcoming of this beautiful energy that flowed around and through me. Living Water, the Holy Spirit – refreshing my life; and available to all.
I invite you to take some time this morning to look deeply into your own life today to see the nature, the quality, and the intensity of your thirst.
I invite you to open your heart a little more to what your spiritual longing is… Let us create now a silent, reflective space for ourselves and one another… You might want to hold your hands `cupped’ as if to receive a gift in them… I invite you to close your eyes…, feel the floor beneath your feet…, be aware of your body sitting and supported by your chair, and be aware of your breathing… Take a few deep cleansing breaths – letting the breath flow through you from the tips of your toes to the top of your head…
Every breath in is a gift of life…
Every breath out … a chance to release, to let go of distraction…
As you welcome the Living Water of God’s love, I invite you to reflect on the following questions:
In this Season of Lent, for what does my soul thirst?
What things and people right now are life-giving for me?
How can I respond to the needs of other thirsty voices in my community and beyond?
Prayer: Holy One, behold your children…bless with your abundant grace, our thirsty lives. We pray in the name of Jesus, our brother… amen.
I invite you, when you are ready, to open your eyes and be aware that you are in community with a whole group of people who are seeking living water for their thirsty souls.
Thank you for opening your heart to these questions. You may want to reflect on them further by finding a longer quiet time, or by journaling or talking them over with a friend. Thanks be to the Holy One who offers living water for our spiritual thirst. Amen.