Day 13 - Pauses for Lent - Water


“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
We recently traveled to the mountains. The high altitude and low humidity threw my body into a constant state of thirst. I could never fully quench my thirst, no matter the water intake. 
I’ve experienced a thirst in my spiritual life, as well. When I move from one good ministry opportunity to another, but fail to live a discerning life, I can become unsettled, off balance, impatient, angry, shameful, fearful.... thirsty. A constant thirst creeps in when I try to “do good” apart from God’s beckoning. When the fruit of the Spirit are not evidenced in my life, I am no longer tapped into the Living Water. 
Be clear, it’s a very short distance from discerning Gods beckoning and “doing good”. I may begin the journey as a response to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. But when I latch on to it (as if it’s mine to hold), it moves from a joyful energizing experience to a begrudgingly heavy unsatisfying  experience. Thirst. 
It happens in the life of the church. Someone says yes to God’s nudging and engages a new ministry with joyful energy! But somewhere along the way, the person begins to “own” the ministry as if it belongs to the person instead of God and Christ’s church. Thirsty feelings emerge: frustration that no one helps, anger that the ministry demands so much time at the church, fear that the ministry will die and blame will be heaped, self pity that no one understands how hard this work is... thirst. 
Drinking the water that Jesus gives will keep bubbling inside of us! When Jesus beckons us to see people and care, the energy that bubbles inside of us fuels the ongoing vision God casts for us. Let’s agree that when impatience, anger, need to control, fear, and shame keep coming toward us, we need some listening time with Jesus. We remember that we do not do this work alone. We are more together. 
Our baptism “through water and the Spirit” confirms that we belong to God. We are initiated into Christ’s holy Church and incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation. Because  the Living Water does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, we will never be thirsty again when we join God’s mission “through water and the Spirit”. This work is not ours but God’s. In this season of Lent we are invited to reflect upon “thirst.” We are invited to “own” our thirst and reconnect to the re-freshing Spirit that is the fountain of life. 
Rev. Connie Shelton currently serves as the District Superintendent in the East Jackson District.

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