Little children love to be outside. Even a fussy newborn often quiets under an open sky or in a gentle breeze. These days we’ve been taking lots of walks with my young grandchildren, each outing more exciting than a well planned field trip. Preschoolers notice everything from tiny bugs to bits of gravel and beg to stop and watch, touch, discuss.
Today as Skylar, Micah, their parents and I ambled home from the playground, both children preferred walking to riding in the stroller, which slowed our pace considerably but invited us to look at the world from their point of view. Stopping in front of a small child-high fountain became a photo op as they studied the wonder of a never-ending water flow.
The little concrete girl was filling a tub with water from her jug, and we talked about why she might be doing that (maybe to bathe her baby). But it was puzzling that she couldn’t complete her task, because the water just kept coming. But as children so easily do, they accepted that this was the way it was for her, and on we went.
Our local Christian bookstore displays an attention-grabbing item, too: a 16 ounce pop bottle filled with dirty water. Dark particles float in it and sediment rests at the bottom. A sign explains this is the best water many people have. Among other things, they strain it for drinking, an appalling thought. No wonder disease runs rampant and people die young.
One of the ongoing humanitarian efforts of missionaries and others is to bring clean, drinkable water to people who’ve never had it. I think back to biblical days and wonder if the water then was any better than what’s in the plastic pop bottle at the bookstore. Quality water was like gold in biblical times, since that area of the world was (and is) mostly parched desert. Just reading through scriptural stories makes me want to head for the kitchen for a cool drink.
The Bible often uses water in powerful object lessons. One example is Jesus’ conversation with a woman at a community well where he referred to himself as the living water. Another was an Old Testament reference to God being the fountain of life. We also learn we’ll be drinking miraculous water in heaven one day.
The one thing these water images have in common is that they’ll never run dry. When earth’s water-resources have disappeared completely, streams of living water will be flowing still, into us, which means we’ll never go thirsty, not literally and not spiritually. Like the little concrete fountain Skylar and Micah appreciated this afternoon, the life-giving water available through divinity will keep running indefinitely.
The only difference between the fountain-girl pouring into a wash tub and God pouring into us is that her supply comes through a hose connected to a city water tank. And his? His comes from… well… him!
“You [O Lord] give [the children of men] to drink of the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life.” (Psalm 36:8,9)