My gardening skills leave a lot to be desired. Usually, I have killed someone’s thoughtful begonia gift before I have written the thank you note. The scientific experiment that is my home has led me to a deeply profound conclusion: plants need water.
Water has miraculous properties. Really.
A dried, dehydrated daisy transforms within minutes if the watering can reach it. The stem, bent over from the burden of trying to rise up in the midst of great trauma, garners new strength. As water flows to each cell in the flower, the collective body is able to stand upright again and carry the load of blossom and leaves. As curled edges unfurl, the daisy looks... well, fresh as a daisy.
All because of water.
Now, my homespun research does reveal limits. If I walk past a spider fern too many times and therefore withhold water for too long, the plant will not bounce back. The refreshing drops merely roll off the dried carcass of the fern and produce a crispy-yet-soggy mess rather than the botanical beauty it was meant to be. The plant’s life depends on the water reaching it soon enough. If watering happens within the bounce-back window, the resilience of the plant kicks in. If not, the compost pile gets a little bigger.
Too bad the spider fern couldn’t ask for water. Maybe the shock of a talking plant would help me remember.
Jesus told the woman at the well (John 7) that he would give her living water if she asked. All she had to do was ask. Her source of resilience, Jesus, was declaring himself available to her. Jesus has said that if we are in the middle of stress (a pandemic, a divided country, job woes, financial worries) and we are bowing under the weight, we just need to ask him for help. Jesus offers help, if we ask. We have a voice and a choice!
Now that’s good news.
And he offers more. That someone can come back from the precipice of destruction and be restored to health is no less than a miracle. Jesus’ prescription for stress is to add water-- His water, living water. He offers something beyond just routine maintenance, beyond restoration to the norm. He offers growth. New things happen, new power comes.
I want that! Who is with me?
We are in traumatic times. We are cut off from our normal lifelines of friends, family, and life-giving moments of fun. We are dying houseplants. Our country’s peace is wearing thin. We have all the usual problems of life added to a background of political and physical dangers. Our spirits could wilt in the face of such brutal conditions. Life is difficult right now…
…but there is hope.
Jesus doesn’t just walk by as we wither away. He offers his living water. We have this time here on earth to respond and receive, rebound and grow. We have a window of opportunity for bounce-back. We can thrive in the midst of crisis, in the midst of trouble, in the midst of uncertainty. The conditions around us do not dictate our vitality; the question is whether or not we are connected to the source of life, whether we are getting the water we need to thrive.
He just wants us to ask. That is his simple solution. He sees our dehydration and waits for us to ask for his water. He has the solution, the strength, and the ability to get us back to normal, better than normal. He wants to see us thrive. He can give us the ability to bounce back, to grow, to persevere. Help awaits us.
Turn on the faucet, Lord. We are ready.
“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:38 (NIV)