Sunday, August 20, 2017
There's Something in the Water
This past Lent, the sermon series at church was "There's Something in the Water." Each week one of the pastors spoke about Jesus' interaction with water.
For example, Jesus changed water into wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-12). He offered the woman at the well life-giving water so that she would never be thirsty again (John 4:1-42). The pool at Bethsaida was a place where those who were sick came for healing (John 5:1-9). Jesus calmed the sea when the disciples were frightened and worried the boat would capsize (Mark 4:35-41).
"There was something in the water" in each of these events that brought about change - celebration at the wedding, new life for the woman at the well, healing at the pool, and peace for the disciples.
There's something in the water for me too when I paint or swim.
The Transforming Power of Water for Me
I keep a cup of water next to the paper where I paint so I can have clean brushes in between color changes. Since painting is a way I pray, there is surely something in the water when color, line and form "transform into language" for my heart. God directs my art and guides my hand with expression.
Swimming is a forty-three-year-long pattern of exercise for me. I swim laps five days a week. In the water I am held, even embraced as the water flows over me. The water is a container for thoughts and emotions that often get stirred when I go from one end of the pool to the other.
Several years ago, I was dealing with a lot of anger. Each time I swam I was able to dissolve the angry energy, through the act of swimming, enabling me to reach a place of peace when I finished. During those days, the anger often returned the next day, but sometimes the relief lasted more than a week. I never knew when the anger would return, but I knew that if I cold get to the pool, relief was available in that water.
Emotional relief, expression, language were active in the water that was a significant part of my life.
The Transforming Power of Water for Others
Many people like to go to lakes or oceans where the rhythmic cycle of waves approaching then receding offers calm. The energy of a lake or the ocean can envelop and soothe a heart that is aching or give strength during times of weakness - even companionship for every day life.
Transformation happened when the water at the wedding enabled the guests to continue the celebration. Taking time with Jesus at the well, the Samaritan woman gained eternal life as she drank life-giving water. The man who waited by the pool at Bethesda for healing from a 38 year-old illness was made new after his encounter with Jesus. The disciples, filled with fear, learned that trusting Jesus during a storm gave them new courage and deepened their faith.
Transformation comes to me when I paint. Whatever joy, sadness, frustration, confusion, anger, forgiveness or gratitude I'm carrying in my heart, is taken to God and baptized in the blend of water and color. The process of design and painting brings change to my heart.
Finally, my experience of complete immersion in water always leaves me a different person from when I begin my laps to when I end them.
There's something transformative in the water for me and for many others. Is there something transformative in the water for you?
Transformation can be hard to experience when we deal with life circumstances. The New Testament offers examples of how change can happen with Jesus close by. We can experience change, gain great freedom, and increased faith and begin new pathways of thought, perspective, and life, when we experience Christ.
1. Where do you experience transformation - the woods, at the ocean, sitting in a comfortable chair, at a lake, in the mountains, while baking, when walking?
2. How does transformation come to you?
3. What does transformation mean in your life?
Prayer: Strengthen us, God, and give courage when transformation is needed. Amen.