April 2015

"I will give ... a spring of water ... for eternal life"
(John 4.14)

One hot and sultry afternoon some years ago, I went to look for the source of the River Thames. It was marked on the map, and after trudging across a field or two, I found it. There was a granite stone, inscribed and marking the place, standing roughly in the centre o f a parched and dusty hollow. Not a drop of water could be seen, neither there nor anywhere around. Following a few dryish winters, the water table had gon e down. It was a bit of a disappointment . . . until . . .

. . . over the horizon appeared a group of stalwart hikers who directed me to a location about half a mile away. There, among a clump of trees, was a shady pool which was being magically fed by a bubbling spring from below. An d it overflowed into a channel that became quite a respectable small river within about a hundred yards.

It was a "wow" moment! I just stood there entranced for many minutes. And I recall this lovely experience each time I hear or read John chapter 14. That Samaritan woman certainly had a "wow" moment when she met the stranger at the well who seemed to read her like a book, but who gave her the promise of living and bubbling spiritu al water which would quench the thirst of human longing. What a magical contrast to the parched barrenness of a disordered life!

"Spring" is a lovely word. It encompasses the bounce and vigour of the post-winter season with all its burgeoning new life, as well as the mysterious free gift of life-giving water from the depths of the earth. In practical terms, water will cleanse and heal and restore. It is synonymous with life, for witho ut water life will cease. And water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit of God. The post-Easter season is the spring-time of the Church, when the Spirit energis es the faithful followers of the Lord to spring into action so that the great message of new life in Christ may be heard.

This spr ingtime gift is resurrection and life. As we hear, receive, and "do" this Saying, we ourselves and those for whom we intercede are given this gift for ou r individual and corporate salvation.