This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Advent day 17: Come near to the Living Water

Hyacinth Stevens is co-pastor of King of Glory Tabernacle in the Bronx, New York.  She is also a Program Coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee East Coast in New York City. Hyacinth remains active and connected to the ministries of the broader church. She serves on the Mennonite Women USA board as the African American Mennonite Association representative (AAMA) and is a facilitator for Sister Care workshops in African-American congregations.

This devotional is based on excerpts from Psalm 42 and Ezekiel 47.

In the season of Advent we are given an invitation to draw close, to surrender, to be guided and to be filled. In the rush of daily routines, the Savior hears our pants. The ALL in ALL, Everlasting One, Prince of Peace, invites us, saying, “I am near. I am close to you. Won’t you come to the waters?” As the Psalmist reflects, so we are invited to reflect, “As the deer pants for the streams of water so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God. For the living God.”  

There is a flow of water running and available for us. There is no drought at the river of life. The living God who is also known as the essence of living water is ever present.

This water has many properties to meet the needs of our human condition. Its current flows and moves in between the, wines, bends and jagged place of our lives; in this water is hope, peace, joy, truth and love. The depth of these virtues make up the essence of this super-nutrient water that quenches the thirst and fills the zest for life. “Come, all who are thirsty, Come to the waters…Come, buy wine  and milk without money and without cost.” Isaiah 55:1

This is an uncontaminated river; it heals us as we fill up, it draws us into knowing its supplier. This river speaks, it speaks our language. The journey remains for us to come, make space, clear out the clutter, come near, come and be filled.

I live about two blocks from the beach and I’m often intrigued by the melodies of the Long Island Sound during changes in the weather. I grew up in the city most of my life and have only recently had the opportunity to be so close to a waterway. I notice the stillness that comes after a storm and the robust waves before a storm. The mid-morning waves that crash among the rocks. The way the birds and sea life respond to the movement of the water is an observatory for me.

On a rainy or misty day, I love to watch the seagulls at the beach. They depend on the water for food, for community and to carry them. The other morning, I walked on the beach in the midst of rain, wind and a little sleet. The sky was gray and overcast and there were only two other people on the walking path with me. It was the kind of morning where you would probably only go out if you have to.  Yet, I was drawn to this place, a living symbol and an in-touch moment to connect with the living water.

To my wonder, the beach was full of life as the seagulls enjoyed the overcast sky: diving into the water looking for food, sitting on the small waves taking a float to shore while other seagulls were flying and squawking back and forth at each other. These weather conditions kept most people away from the water. But these creatures saw this as an opportunity,. They knew despite the overcast sky that the water was still there holding in it the nutrients to supply their needs. They were content, enjoying their habitat and the center of their life, the water.

I could feel the embrace of the Psalm: “Deep calls to deep in the roar of  your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.”

My soul responds to the invitation to pause, to be drawn into God’s love directing my day and singing over the night of my soul. The day is downcast, but I remain inspired by the simplest of birds: the seagull.

I will seek the water of life and the resources found in it. You are my hope.

Put your hope in God. He is near. Let us Praise him, our God, our savior. It is safe for us to draw near. For he has come close. He is our Sanctuary from which the fruits of life and healing flow.

Stay connected to the center, my soul cries and pants, even though the storms and overcast times of life will come. The hustle and bustle of family, I have four children ages 6 to 16, church meetings, plans, daily routines and work all fill my space – but all these very important, seemingingly urgent things must not keep me away from the river of life.

There is no drought or shortage of living water. I must make space. The supply has not been cut off-. “As the deer pants for the water so my soul long for thee. “

Like the seagull, let’s find our way to the water especially when life is full of overcast skies.

The Lord is near! Come, Let us now draw near!

 

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