Living Water March 27, 2011Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
13 Jesus said to her, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again,
14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst;
the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Have you ever wondered why we just can’t seem to stop with the sinning? (I am assuming here that we all understand the term “sin” and what it means to any of us) Doesn’t it often seem as if the harder we try, the harder it is to overcome?
During Lent, we are asked to examine the sin in our lives, and to take the necessary steps to overcome it and put it away from us forever. Obviously, we all know that this is much easier said than done. One ordinarily doesn’t have the ability to simply STOP sinning, never to take it up again. And, although it might happen, most of us can’t conceive of it happening to US.
An odd paradox about sin in our lives is that the closer we are able to draw to God, the more aware of our failures and sinfulness we become. This Grace is one of our greatest allies in the eternal battle, and helps us to stay on track. The proximity of Grace, by its power to contrast, shows up the areas in our lives and our walk with the Lord where we fall short. Like a bright light shown into a dark and dirty room, Grace shows us where we need persistence and prayer.
God gives us numerous opportunities to choose Him every day. When we choose against Him, we subside back into that bog of sinful behavior, then wonder why we can’t prevail. Our lives become at cross-purposes with His, and we stumble around in a sad and clinging mass of failure and worry. One could call this condition a “punishment,” since it is a consequence of our choices.
Some people reach a state of such lost defeat that they no longer are aware of sin in their lives, can’t recognize it for what it is, and don’t feel inclined to do anything about it. For them, and for all of us, the first step in overcoming sin in our lives is to become aware of its presence there, a moment of great Grace.
We struggle courageously to untie those cords of bondage. We pray, make personal sacrifices for His sake, and press in to His Heart. But, even when we are struggling, even when we continue with the battle although it seems to everyone else that we are losing ground, we are gaining Grace. What might look to others as “misery,” might, to faithful souls, be great signs of God’s Grace working in our lives. “Whom the Lord loveth, He chastiseth…” it says in Holy Scripture. Struggle in life doesn’t necessarily mean the presence of sin, any more than perceived “happiness” is a sign of a blessed life.
Some people have learned to embrace their suffering for His sake, and they know that, far from being punishment, their problems are great opportunities to press closer and drink more deeply from His Well of Living Water. (Serendipitously, this was written this morning before I left for Mass, where all the readings dealt with God’s provision of Living Water for His people.)
Repeatedly choosing “not God” can lead to continued sinfulness. This is a case of sin basically being its own punishment. Being imprisoned in a dungeon of sin because our choices are not made with our salvation in mind is the consequence of these “not God” choices. Being in a state of sinful consequences is a case of a soul dying of thirst.
Every choice we make for God, on the other hand, provides us with a sip from that Living Water, the Water that strengthens, purifies, refreshes, and equips us for further battle.