Staying Close to the Water

December 12, 2012

Excerpt from John 4:8-18

Jesus said to her, "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."

Reflection by Martin B. Copenhaver

In his wonderful new book, Called to Lead, Tony Robinson (one of the Daily Devotional writers) relays something his daughter learned while working at a huge cattle ranch in the Australian outback.  The land is so vast and arid that the ranchers don't rely on fences to keep the cattle from wandering off.  What keeps the cattle around instead is a deep well of pure water.  Cows may not be the smartest of creatures, but they soon learn you don't want to wander too far from the well.

This seems like an apt metaphor for our approach to the Christian faith.  There are traditions that rely on something like fences to keep some in and keep others out.  They might say that you have to believe in a particular creed to belong, or you have to have some kind of dramatic conversion experience to be one of us.

We do not approach the Christian faith in that way.  We are not big on fences and, in fact, we don't think they are needed.

Instead, we focus on the well and the life-giving water that can be found there.  We have our center in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  To be sure, we have our different understandings of the gospel, and some of us might even wander far afield, but we don't construct fences.  That's because we trust that the well is enough, it is more than enough, to keep us close.

Prayer

Thank you, God, for the living water that keeps us alive and refreshes our spirits.  Help us to stay close to the source of that water this day and in the days to come.

About the Author
Martin B. Copenhaver is Senior Pastor, Wellesley Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is the author, with Lillian Daniel, of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: the Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers.

Looking for a way to say "thanks" to someone at church? Click here to preview and order How Can We Thank You?, a new collection of reflections from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group.

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