Once we were walking in the Greek mountains. It was incredibly hot! We had a rule that, if we didn’t find a spring by the time our water-bottles were half-empty, we would turn around and go back. We’d reached that point and were talking about retracing our steps when we suddenly came upon a spring of crystal-clear, ice-cold water. It was wonderful!
If it had been a cracked, concrete water-tank, with a small puddle of water in the bottom mixed up with mud and dead leaves we wouldn’t have been so pleased. And if we’d found both the old tank and the spring, well the choice would have been obvious.
When I encounter challenging problems, I find I am so good at resorting to coping strategies. Day by day, we all face difficult circumstances and awkward relationships. Many of us struggle with painful memories and wounds from the past that go on troubling us. How can we cope? Often my first resort is to find a distraction. The trouble is that not thinking about something doesn’t make it go away. You see, the choice is between doing what I think will help me cope – making my own cistern (it always leaks!) – or drinking the water of life that can deal with the issue. Where do I turn? To my ‘broken cistern’ or to God Himself, who is ‘the fountain of living water’.
This is not to say that there is always a quick-fix for every problem. Long-term pain and ongoing relationship problems always have to be worked through. Even smaller, day-to-day issues must be confronted and overcome. But when the realities are faced, and we start drawing on the water of life, healing and restoration begins. Avoiding difficulties or trying to bury pain solves nothing. Coping strategies may make me feel better for a while but, in the long term, things only get worse. Sometimes, I find I get so used to the default coping strategy that I forget that it’s not the solution. From time to time, it’s really worth asking, “How am I dealing with this ongoing issue in my life?”
I wonder what you will be facing today. A difficult relationship? Painful memories? Physical or mental illness? Worries about the future? Whatever it is, Jesus’ gracious invitation remains the same, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let them come to me and drink’ (John 7:37). His living water is the ultimate thirst-quencher.
Prayer: Father, I’m really sorry that I so often try to cope out of my own resources instead of coming to You for the living water that meets my every need. Lord, I come to You now and ask that You will enable me to draw on the living water as I face the challenges of the day. Amen.
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