Water of life
I would like to share with you a version of a story from Margaret Silf's book, "Wisdom stories".
Three people were searching for the water of life as they had heard that if you drink from it, you will live forever. A warrior with weapons and a suit of armour, thinking that by force he could make the water yield to him.
An enchantress thought that the water would be a magical whirlpool that she could manipulate with spells, so she donned her floor length, star spangled robe and carried various potions.
A trader imagined the water to be like a fountain of pearl drops or diamonds. He felt that the water would be very costly, so he loaded all his pockets and several purses with money, hoping to buy some of the precious water.
When they reached the water they found that it was not a torrent to be tamed or intimidated by force. It was not a magical whirlpool to be charmed by spells. And it wasn't a fountain of pearl drops or diamonds to be purchased with great wealth.
It was a tiny sparkling spring and it's benefits were absolutely free, but you had to bend down, stooping low to drink from it. The problem was that the warrior couldn't do this in his armour, the enchantress couldn't soil her magical robe and the trader was so laden with money that if he so much as leaned forward, coins would roll this way and that, many, never to be found again. They could not lower themselves to drink from the water of life.
The only solution was to strip themselves of the armour, the robe of superstition and finally, great wealth if they were to receive the benefits of the water of life.
Probably the most obvious moral of this story is that sometimes we need to cast aside certain attitudes, ideas or possessions in order to receive what is good, but for me, there is more to it than that.
John's gospel and the book of Revelation both speak of the water of life, and yes, we may need cast aside certain things in order to receive it. If we have been hurt in life, we can put on the armour of cynicism or mistrust to avoid being let down and hurt again. Past hurts can convince us to trust no one, not even God. We can think that we have to perform certain rituals in order to get what Jesus offers. We can also be guilty of thinking we can buy His favour - having an attitude of "if I give this I expect you to give me that" All of these are clearly wrong yet so easy to fall into.
The water of life is a free gift from our Lord but the idea in this story of needing to kneel down to get it made me think, obviously, of prayer, but also, the idea of stooping low, reminded me of today's message from Lectio 365, which speaks of our need to humble ourselves before God and pray for Him to heal the land (referring to the pandemic). This pandemic is a very humbling experience, it has a very leveling effect- anyone can get it, young, old, rich or poor. It has certainly made me reevaluate many things in my life, and I believe that now is a very appropriate time for us to kneel humbly before our God and ask Him to give us the water of life to replace this awful spread of death.
May God bless us all as we kneel before Him. Amen