After a long dry spell the recent rain has come as a real relief. I found that, returning to England after nearly four weeks in Australia, I was shocked by how dry so much of the country side was looking. There was an August look in June. So the rain has brought a respite from the dry, warm weather and restored freshness to the fields and gardens around us.
As long as the rain falls gently it brings new life: plants that were struggling start growing again (including weeds!) while birds and insects seem to thrive once more.
What is happening in nature around us can also be a metaphor for what is happening in our lives too. We feel stale and dry. Creativity can be stifled when we experience internal drought too. We need the rain of new inspiration, a change of scene or a new perspective to bring back freshness into our lives.
Our spiritual lives too need refreshing at times. Jesus spoke of himself as having the gift of living water. In John’s gospel there is the wonderful story of his conversation with a woman from Samaria. She has come to draw water from a well and Jesus asks her to draw some for him. This leads to a deep conversation in which Jesus says: ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink the water that I give them will never be thirsty. The water I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’
It is easy for the pressures and routines of everyday life to distract us from coming back to Jesus to be refreshed by his gift of water. This is as much a challenge within the church as it is in the course of normal life. We allow routine or familiarity to support us when we should be seeking Jesus’ living water to sustain and renew us. Why should anyone want to come to church when the worship is dry and stale?
Yet, any change risks ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’. Seeking God’s will for the church and for his people needs to be done constantly and sensitively to ensure that we really are listening to his voice and not just our own anxieties and prejudices.
I wonder if there are things that would improve your experience of church or enable you to worship more deeply. I would love to hear from you so that we can together listen to God and help refresh us all with his living water.