As often happens in the silence of meeting for worship, I felt a message coming within me, which was not completed until a few days later. I usually write these "silent messages" in my journal, but felt called to share this message with Friends.
Since my retirement, over a year ago, it has become my custom to go out for an early morning walk right after breakfast. As an outdoor person, I am comfortable walking in all kinds of weather as long as I dress accordingly. On a frigid January morning, with the temperature at 10 degrees Fahrenheit, I stepped out into a cold but sunny day to begin my journey. I often walk to a small pond, which is bordered on one side by a row of tall cathedral-like fir trees, about a mile from my home. Even though it is very cold, I usually sit on a low retaining wall next to a three-foot high waterfall facing downstream. Of course with the extreme cold temperature the pond was frozen with a dusting of snow covering it like a thin white blanket. The water flowed from beneath the ice-covered pond cascading over the edge of the spillway. From where I was sitting, I could not only see and hear the rushing waters, but I could also feel their natural power.
As the falling waters hit the stream below its bubbles sparkling in the sunlight, the currents flow over and around the many stones of various sizes that were in the way. A little farther downstream, where the streambed widened and the current was almost still, the stream was frozen. The ice was thick enough that I could only see the flowing water disappear into the solid darkness. Although I could no longer see the bubbling stream, I knew from experience that it was still flowing, and at the other end of the dark patch of ice the moving waters reappeared. The streambed narrowed and the currents became stronger as the bubbling waters joined together as one and continued its predestined journey under the bridge and beyond.
As I sat by the waterfall my thoughts turned to the Living Waters of the Spirit. When we are young, life bubbles up inside of us rushing to the next place in our journey. In the early stages of our life we may not know where we are going, but we are drawn by the current that leads us. Along the way we encounter many obstacles in life, some of little consequence and others that are life-changing. The current of the Living Waters continues to guide us through the shallows to the deeper pool of life. For some reasons, though, which only God knows, there are periods in our lives where we face the illusions of darkness in a cold, hard world. It is during these episodes of darkness that our thoughts and actions seem to be frozen and we cannot find our way. We are unable to discern that the stream of the Living Waters, the life of the Spirit, continues to flow through the thick darkness and will bring us out on the other side. How do we find the faith and the strength to follow the true currents of life through the darkness back into the Light?
As Friends and seekers we are encouraged to look within for the presence of the Light, the Source of the Living Waters. In the silence of our hearts we listen for God, the Voice of Love, for guidance. We may hear a still small voice, our Inner Teacher speaking to us. The message of hope may also come to us as a vision or in a dream, as has happened to many who have lived in the stream of life. It could be that a kind or direct word from a friend may help us gain the insight to get through the cold darkness. It is from the Living Waters of the Spirit that we can find the current of love that will give us a renewal of faith to follow the Light. As we commit ourselves to nurture the seed of faith in our hearts and expose it to the Light, it will grow and blossom abundantly. This growing faith will provide us with the fruits of the Living Waters as we follow our predestined journey under the bridge and beyond.