I was traveling through a particular part of the Pike National Forest during a recent camping trip. This area was devastated during the Hayman Fire of 2002. Even fifteen years later, the effect is still evident every where you look. Well, almost everywhere. There is a path of healing water after a consuming fire.
For a little backstory, a Forest Service employee let a fire get out of control and it burned over 138,000 acres and dozens of homes. There are streams that run through the forest and a major reservoir that feeds water to thousands of Colorado residents.
As the fire was traveling across the forest, it left little untouched. Goose Creek is a strange exception. Where the water flows, there are 100 year old trees that were unaffected by the fire. In fact, this line of life follows the river for miles. When I found a spot to spend a few nights to refresh, I could see all these tall trees and the creek. I had to intentionally look past the life all around me to see any evidence of the fire.
Our spiritual life follows this same path.
The devastation of external circumstances is all around us. Evidence for this is overwhelming as well. We are lacking at home and at work. We don’t have the best marriage and our parenting leaves much to be desired. However, when we follow the water path, the evidence of devastation is less evident. In fact, it can also be difficult to see.
When Jesus said He is the Living Water, He was offering fulfillment in the deep places of our heart. He also spoke of the thirst quench as being permanent. What would it be like to, literally, never thirst again? We are so used to having water come out of our tap that we don’t every truly thirst. If a stranger were to come up to you and offer you $100 or a gallon of water, you would certainly take the money. However, if you were stranded in a the middle of the Sahara Desert, only a fool would pass up a refreshing (and life-saving) drink.
The offer of permanent thirst quenching water makes a much more dramatic impact upon someone that lives in a culture where they have to walk a distance every day to retrieve water.
Contrast is such a continuing theme in the Bible. Our lives seem to parallel this theme. We have God as an all consuming fire and a stream of living water. It seems contradictory in how it is presented to us. Closer examination reveals the burned parts are where the false parts of us reside. What remains is protected by the Living Water.
Sounds like a certain camp spot in a local forest I’ve been to recently. God bless you! Remember to “stay thirsty my friends.”