Letter from the Vicarage - September 2017
BLESSINGS FROM THE VICARAGE
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
September already! That summer seemed to go lightning quick, didn’t it? – Probably because we had the odd bit of lightning and then thunder with quite a bit of rain… But (and some people who crave summer warmth and sunshine might think this odd) I don’t mind the rain at all: some of you can testify to this as they have seen me walking my twin chocolate Labradors (Bertie Buttons and Tia–Maria) round the village in my high-vis jacket when it is pouring down!
When the sun was shining in June and early July the earth and grass was so parched, it was crisp and golden - it even smelt like it was cooking. I couldn’t actually walk the dogs down the lanes because the tarmac was melting and they would have overheated which is all too dangerous. But when the rains came – how soon everything ‘greened up’ again and looked nourished and lush, and how much we all enjoyed walking and jumping in the big puddles!
Water is so essential to all life. Here in England, it is another thing we can tend to take for granted – only realising its importance when there is a problem of having too much or when we are bereft of it for a period of time.
In the New Testament, in John’s Gospel chapter 4 we can read the story of when Jesus once was physically tired and parched in the heat of the noonday and needed a drink. So he stopped by a well (Jacob’s well in Samaria), and, as there was a woman drawing water, he asked her for a drink. He must have been very thirsty as this was a most unusual thing to do, especially to a Samaritan woman, with whom the Jewish people had dissociated themselves. She was pretty shocked at his request too and challenged him. To which Jesus answered “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water... “ Later he said, “Everyone who drinks this water (from the well) will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” He adds, “The water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
There are times on earth when we have an over-abundance of water, and floods occur. There are times when there is not enough water, and droughts occur. With global warming the sea water level is rising and this increases the danger of submersion of the lowlands. Although the weather can fairly accurately be predicted it can still be erratic and surprising, as we have experienced recently.
We, like the Samaritan woman, can take things too literally – especially when reading The Bible, which was never the way it was meant to be read. In the story above, the gift of God is life itself. The living water is the constant and steady supply of love and energy that ‘hydrates’ our very being and is so over flowing (in a good way) that others can be filled with that love too and be refreshed – ‘greened-up’, nourished and even ‘lush!’. As God’s love is infinite and everlasting, you can see why Jesus says that we need never thirst again, because (unlike when in drought conditions) there is more than enough to go round for everyone for ever.
When we realise again the constant and utter generosity and provision of God, gratefulness wells up inside us just like a water spring as our lives are freed from the wilderness of drought (which might be illness in body, mind or spirit that saps our energy); we are healed of ‘spiritual dehydration’ (which might be the feeling of separation from God and from people for various reasons); and our lives are restored to proper homeostasis (balanced, connected and integrated with self and all life).
So as we give thanks for Life and as nature ‘drops its still dews of quietness’, perhaps we might look upon not only nature’s gift of rain but also The Bible with new eyes from now on?
With love and prayers,
Ps. incidentally, my first ever memory as a very young baby is of the wonder of a rainbow in a raindrop, when I was outside in my pram during a thunder storm!