Water has a distinct way of waking you from slumber. Cold water will snap your eyes open if thrown onto your face. You might stay awake for another hour or two if you dip your feet in it. Take a cold shower in the morning and that overwhelming sleepiness will disappear. In light of this, I find it interesting that Jesus refers to himself as the water of life (John 4:14). That we should drink deep from this fountain if we are weary, heavy laden and thirsty.
Our Sleeping World
Ours is a day when many desperately need to drink that water. The world seems to spin further out of control daily. Demagogues sprout up like weeds and set fires underneath the beds of the slumberers. We see visionaries drunk on the dregs of power staggering from the path that led to the futures they promised. The underdogs are trampled underfoot and the powers-that-be conquer the weak, boasting in their triumphs. Our world has rejected the foundation of truth, even the notion of truth, and has chosen to appeal to her own passions. And now, the world has been thrown into chaotic frenzy over the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Its time for us to wake up!
Amidst confusion and panic, we are not merely confronted by our frail human mortality, but more importantly, whose we are
Amidst confusion and panic, we are not merely confronted by our frail human mortality, but more importantly, whose we are. In Uganda, where I reside, the true colours of those close to me have been peeled back and laid bare, especially during funerals and weddings. If you are attentive, it is easy to tell the source of someone’s thought process through what they practice.
The Sobering Human Experience
I am reminded of the psalmist who was well aware of his sinful state (Psalm 14:2-3). The Psalms regularly express that help cannot come from within us (Psalm 35:2-3). Our only sure help is the Lord (Psalm 121:1-8). The psalmist’s struggle to make sense of this world and its woes acutely mirrors our human experiences. As he laments in solitude and sorrow, he is at the same time graciously assured and reminded that God hears his cry and He will come to his rescue.
Moments of pain, persecution, suffering and confusion highlight our lowly state. They point us to God enthroned above
Moments of pain, persecution, suffering and confusion highlight our lowly state. They point us to God enthroned above. Such moments are evidence that we are not in control. They teach us that there is One mightier than man.
Wake Up and See the Light
Jesus holds out his nail-scarred palms, reaching out to a desolated and discouraged people. As Paul puts it, ‘in him, all things hold together’ (Colossians 1:17). He reconciles to himself all things through the cross (Colossians 1:19). He is a beaming light in our dark and despairing world (John 1:4-5) and a poignant reminder that not all is lost; that a resolute and perpetual hope lies only in Him. In saying this, it follows that this searching and saving light can be found nowhere else.
Such moments are evidence that we are not in control. They teach us that there is One mightier than man
The Only Satisfying Water
Just like the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus calls us to drink of the living water. For Jesus, the Living Water, will quench our thirst once and for all. And this will be a wellspring of eternal life within us (John 4:10, 13-14). Christ ultimately cleanses us from the worst kind of sickness: sin. In him, our worries and struggles are resolved because he is the Fountain of Life, the river of the water of life (Revelation 22:1) and he never runs dry (John 7:37-39). As Os Guinness put it, ‘we might be in the dark about certain situations, but we are not in the dark about God.’
Jesus is the only comfort that quiets the doubts raised by the brokenness of this world. He offers peace that transcends what the world has taught
Jesus is the only comfort that quiets the doubts raised by the brokenness of this world. He offers peace that transcends what the world has taught, fortifying our faith for the times to come. Even though we are encumbered by circumstances that threaten and change our world and existence, our anchorage in Him proves trustworthy and robust against this dying world. As Edward Mote (1797-1874) put it, “When darkness veils His lovely face, / I rest on His unchanging grace; / In every high and stormy gale, / My anchor holds within the veil”. So, drink from Him, drink deep and long and quench those doubts and fears. May his sobering stream make us wake up from mortal slumber.
“Here is consolation as the moments fly”
I conclude with these words penned down by Haldor Lillenas (1885-1959), a twentieth-century hymn writer:
“Many weary years I vainly sought a spring,
One that never would run dry;
Unavailing all that earth to me could bring,
Nothing seemed to satisfy.
Drinking at the Fountain that never runs dry,
Drinking at the Fountain of life am I;
Finding joy and pleasure
In abounding measure,
I am drinking at the Fountain of life.
Through the desert land of sin,
I roam no more,
For I find a living Spring
And my cup of gladness now is running o’er,
Jesus is my Lord and King
Here is sweet contentment as the days go by,
Here is holy peace and rest;
Here is consolation as the moments fly,
Here my heart is always blest,
Here I find a never-ending, sure supply,
While the endless ages roll;
To this healing Fountain, I would ever fly,
There to bathe my weary soul”.
May God through his grace wake us up and help us to:
- Trust him despite the circumstances.
- Be still despite the storm that rages on (Psalm 46:1-11).
- Take comfort in his strength and sufficient grace consistently (2 Corinthians 12:9).
- Remember that he holds us and strengthens us (Isaiah 41:10).