Reflection on Rivers of Living Water

MountainImage

 

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39 NRSV).

“Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”

As we meditate on these words look with me for a while at the image I chose for this reflection.  Look with me at how the sky has a few clouds with the mountains so clearly in view.  The greenery and the river full of life; giving life to the entire scene as it flows so peacefully and naturally.  Life flows in and out of what we are seeing in this photo.  Not everything is the same, but, they live with and give life to each other.

At the very end of Chapter 72 in The Rule of St. Benedict, he wrote,

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may Christ bring us all to everlasting life.”

As we conclude the Easter Season on this Day of Pentecost, the Contemplative is confronted with the question of how do we respond to the Risen and Ascended Christ in a way that is life-giving?  God sent us the answer.  The Holy Spirit.  We are not alone.  The Holy Spirit gives those waters within us the life that flows with the experience of God’s Holy Essence.  The Contemplative is drawn into the heart of the living water who is Christ, because God’s Holy Essence whats us “to prefer nothing whatever to Christ.”  The Christ who is present and speaking to our hearts in all aspects of our lives.  Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB wrote in The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century, “We must learn to listen to what God is saying in our simple, sometimes insane, and always uncertain lives” (p.300).

Pentecost is our opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to enter into our hearts and lives to renew us.  The Spirit comes to break the dams that we have build up within us because of fear and our false-sense of self.   The Holy Essence of God flows through our souls to bring healing and reconciliation within us, so that we may be God’s witnesses and “renew the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:31).

Are you open to the Holy Spirit and the living waters that are flowing in and out of your life?

Amen.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB

See: http://www.cos-osb.org

 

 

 

Lenten Reflection: Come and Drink

waterfountain

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” ’ Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39, NRSV).

It is quite ironic that we have so many scriptural images of water during Lent.  Lent is the season during which we journey into the desert with Jesus.  It was in the desert that Jesus was both hungry and thirsty.  At this stage of the journey of Lent, I think all of us are really thirsting for Easter Day.  Such is actually the point of celebrating Lent.

Today, Jesus tells us that He is the One to Whom we can go when we are thirsty.  “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.”  Jesus is the fountain of endless possibilities for our thirsty souls.  However, Jesus is very clear here that coming to Him for a drink must not be the end of the exchange.  Jesus quotes the words, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”

The great blessing of Contemplative and/or Centering Prayer is that we are given the chance to come to Jesus and drink from His life-giving water.  The only danger that can happen as a result of the wonderful experiences through Contemplative and/or Centering Prayer, is that if the “river” stops there, then it was nothing more than an emotional spiritual roller coaster ride that ended when the ride stopped.  Even if the experience leaves our head spinning and our bodies out of focus.  The drink we receive from Jesus in the desert becomes nothing more than a stagnant pool, unless that water flows out of our hearts in to the market place of our communities.  This includes our families, work places, relationships and activities.

May we in our Lenten experience drink from Jesus who is the well of life, and with the help of God’s grace let that well flow from our hearts into a world that is much too thirsty for its own good.

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB