First Person: Water Into Mine
- Patti Richards Contributing Writer
- 2005 1 Jan
Like most people, during this past holiday season I was busy! School projects with the kids, gift buying, relatives visiting, and the Christmas program at church had kept me running from Thanksgiving to Christmas. All of the things I was doing were well worth the time and effort, but as soon as the last song had been sung, the final gift opened and the stockings packed away until next year, I realized I was exhausted.
Sitting down, I began to look around me. My house was a wreck, the laundry piled up to unbelievable heights, and I hadn’t actually cooked a decent meal in days. Any one of these hints would’ve been enough to tell what had been left undone during the Christmas season, but one thing really caught my eye. A plant in the corner of the dining room, usually robust and healthy, had literally fainted from lack of water. Leaves completely touching the floor, its soil was parched. It looked pathetic! As tired as I was, I immediately got up, filled a pitcher with water and gave it a long, slow drink.
While I worked that day, I watched the plant. It began to look a little better, and by the next day it was its old self again, healthy and green with life and energy. Wow, what a huge change from just a good drink of water. I was refreshed just watching it come to life again, but not completely. I was more like that plant than I cared to admit, not only physically, but spiritually as well.
So, I started taking inventory to see when last I had had a long, slow drink from God’s Word and time spent in prayer. Like the plant, I discovered it was long overdue, and on the inside, I looked pathetic. I had once again fallen into the trap of overdoing without continuing to be filled by the Spirit.
It had been a long few months from September to December with a few bumps in the road. I sent my youngest child off to Kindergarten, and that was more overwhelming than I had cared to admit. A few days after my husband wound up in the hospital having heart problems. Two months earlier we had gone through a near heart attack with my father. I had to admit it had been a stressful time, and like always, rather than allowing God to carry me through these times, I tried to handle them myself. I forged ahead, letting activity and work take over instead of resting in His hands. Stack all that up right before the holidays, and I was a ticking time bomb of spiritual and physical exhaustion. When it was all over, like my plant, I was desperate.
And I was reminded of another desperate woman, the one Jesus met at the well (John 4). While on the earth, Christ changed many lives with his miraculous touch, but none quite so poignant to me as her life, her story. She needed something, and He knew exactly what it was; the water of life that only He could give. He knew all about her before she ever opened her mouth, just like he knows me inside and out. He knew where she had been, and where she was going. He saw her, had compassion, and gave her what she was thirsty for.
Like that thirsty woman, I met the Lord many years ago. But sometimes it can be so easy to forget that His life-giving water is still available to me. That walking with the Lord is a continual process of rebirth and renewal. I have an established and personal relationship with Him, and that will never change. But oh how I need filling everyday to keep that relationship vibrant and healthy.
So this New Year, I didn’t need resolutions, I needed refreshment, the spiritual refreshment that only comes from drinking deeply from God’s Word and spending time in prayer. I didn’t need to learn anything new about God; I needed to be reminded of who He is and what He has done in my life. Like the woman at the well, I was thirsty, but unlike her, all I needed to do was slow down long enough to hear what my Savior was trying to tell me.
On the day her life was changed forever, Christ told the Samaritan Woman, “…Whoever drinks the water I will give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life” John 4:13 NIV
It is this water, a spring of eternal life, that I possess as a child of God. Perhaps this will be the year I will learn to be still more often and take a long, slow drink.
Patti Richards, a freelance writer, lives in Farmington Hills, MI with her attorney-husband, Gene, and their three children.