Can you imagine life without light? Of course not. Life as we know it needs light to thrive. Green plants need sunlight for photosynthesis, and animals depend on greed plants for food and oxygen. But it’s not just a matter of physical survival. Let makes it possible for us to see. It lifts our spirits. It brings out the beauty of the colors around us.
Can you imagine life without water? Of course not. Life as we know it needs water to thrive. Without water, living things shrivel up and die. But it’s not just a matter of physical survival. Think of how enjoyable it is to drink a glass of ice cold water when you are feeling parched from working hard in the hot sun. Now that’s refreshing!
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, of 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?