Jesus often used the natural world as a means to access the spiritual world. He clearly understood that the two were woven together. This has always been a very powerful connection for me. Jesus once made this massively bold claim, recorded in John’s Gospel; ‘Whever believes in me, out of their hearts will flow rivers of living water.’ A very bold statement, and a challenge to us to unpack its meaning.
There is no ‘right answer’ or definitive ‘understanding. We will each react to these words with our own experience and interpretation. This is a bold claim by Jesus and marks him out as someone beyond the ordinary, able to offer a connection with something that is not part of our normal experience. The word that comes to mind, is spiritual. Intangible and with a sense of something that is not visceral and easily understood. But utterly accessible.
The photograph above, was taken during a retreat I had in Clay Cross in Derbyshire. The centre is run by a group of Roman Catholic Sisters and the place of retreat is a purpose built space. It includes this simple fountain, with water bubbling up from withing the polished sandstone…representing the movement of the Holy Spirit in our own lives. I would often sit and just fix my attention on the rock and water and movement. Sometimes hearing the whisper of the Spirit through the play of the water upon the sandstone.
I pray that each of us would find the bubbling presence of the Spirit in moments through our days, and that we might know the power of the refreshing Spirit of God, even within these testing moments we are passing through. Perhaps even daring to expect flowing rivers of living waters!
Peace be with you…