Springs, even in Florida, are cold. It is almost painful to step into one--they will literally take your breath away. I was one who gradually eased my way in to avoid the shock, but the boys wanted to “get it over with,” and usually jumped off the pier, the floating dock, or the rope swing, whatever that particular spring had as a point of entry, and if I was standing too close I “got it over with” too.
One of their favorites was Ichetucknee, probably because that one took up most of a day as we rented tubes and floated down the river from the spring head, leaving the water three hours later when we reached the picnic pavilions. Even by that point in the float, the river was still close enough to the spring that we could chill a homegrown watermelon in its cool shallows while we ate tomato sandwiches and leftover fried chicken; and we never had to worry about snakes or alligators.
We were always the only ones around clothed from our necks to our knees so we got a lot of strange looks. The clothes did not help a bit with the cold. They were for modesty only. Nothing about a freezing wet shirt sticking to your body will keep you warm, even in a patch of sunlight. Yet when I finally got wet enough that a mere splash did not make me squeal, the water was a refreshing respite from the sauna we call summer down here.
Peter told the people of Jerusalem that if they repented they would receive “seasons of refreshing” in Acts 3:19. I am told that the word actually means “breathing,” as in catching one’s breath after hard labor or exercise. That indicates to me that God is not promising us a life of ease. Yes, we have blessings that others do not have, and that only those who are spiritually minded can even recognize and enjoy, but we will still experience heartache, persecution, illness, and other trials of life. We are expected to wear ourselves out with service to any in need, as long as there is life in us. God has no truck with laziness.
But we have this promise—as surely as ice cold spring water lapping against an overheated body can refresh and renew, we will have refreshment from above that soothes our aches and heals our hurts, that rests our souls with the peace of fellowship with God, and that bestows grace on our tortured spirits. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; and that he may send the Christ who has been appointed for you, Jesus, Acts 3:19,20.
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