Perhaps you have heard of SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. Most SAD sufferers experience sadness and depressive symptoms in the fall/winter season. Why? It is brought on by the diminishing levels of light. In fact, even gray and cloudy days can contribute to the symptoms of SAD. Without light, our well being begins to suffer.
This year in northern Virginia we continue to experience a terrible drought. We’ve had a little rainfall lately, but not nearly enough to replenish reservoirs or even soil moisture levels. Serious concerns are being raised about having enough drinking water for entire communities. Clearly without water, a community can’t survive.
In sum, light and water are needed for life. And it is for that reason that they are picked up here in this passage as symbols of God’s power not just to sustain life but to cause it to blossom and flourish. The point is that the way of Jesus is the way of Life, life in abundance, life to the full.
We are, of course, confronted with a variety ways to do life each and every day. Many of these ways compete with the way of Jesus and seek to replace it. Many of these ways of destroy or denigrate life rather than cherish and encourage it.
A good exercise might be to make a list of ways that compete with the way of Jesus, and then think of how they entice us to follow them. Some examples might be the way of perfectionism, the pursuit of bigger and better and more and more, the way of impersonalizing others for own ends, or demonizing those with whom we disagree, and so on. None of these are the way of Jesus, and none promote the life he died to bring.
Will you and I choose this day to walk in the way of Jesus, to be people who bring light to a world that often lives in darkness, and refreshment to a dry and weary land where there is no water?