I have watched as the people I love dearly wade back into the muck of waters that are familiar. I have watched as the students I poured into pass around the cup of sludge and drink liberally, smiling as though their thirst has been quenched, and maybe it has….for the moment. I wonder why they are settling for the dirty water of their peers. I wish that I could tear the cup from their hand, throw them over my shoulder, rush them to the clear and flowing river and shove their heads into the streams until they have no choice but to open their mouths. I wish that I could pump their stomach, force the poison out, make sure their blood runs hydrated and clean. But isn’t there a saying about all of that, about leading the horse but not forcing the drink.
I know I’m not supposed to…but I would force it if I could. Plug their nose till their mouth opened. Bribe them to drink the living water.
As I stand in the hall with my school spirit wear, I better understand the prophets in the bible. The ones who wore animal skins and ate bugs. Maybe if I started acting crazy, a few more people would turn their heads. From the depths of my soul I want to cry out, STOP! DON’T DO IT! THERE IS A BETTER WAY! I want to drown them in this living water of mine.
But waterboarding is not merciful. And living water if brimming with mercy. Living water that is forced down throats and up noses, it isn’t living water at all. Living water that is injected with sugar, so it will go down easy: it isn’t living water either. Somewhere along the way it loses its living quality and sits heavily in stomachs making people sick. The forcefulness, the anger, the righteous indignation. I infect the living water with those things….and it dies.
So I will continue my trek to and from the well, until my feet make a path that is easy to follow. I will bring buckets full and pass it out. I will guard against adding my own agenda, and I will invite you to drink.
Abby, this gave me chillbumps! I had no idea where you were going with your title, and I love this. “I infect the living water with those things… and it dies.” So vivid. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks! It has been sitting in my drafts unposted for a week. I couldn’t find the ending….and then the mercy prompt. Of course God, of course.
What a really powerful image! We talked in my small group recently about what to do when you have that tingly feeling that an opportunity to witness to someone is in front of you and we all agreed that our first inclination is to start bible thumping, but that simple grace and mercy would work so much better (and are much harder!). I’ll keep this image in the forefront of my mind as a means of prevention. Thank you!
How to stay full of living water myself? Go back to the well. You are right.
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