Summer is hot here, as it was then, nearly six decades ago as I played outside every day. We lived on a cul-de-sac, the same one as two of my first cousins. It would probably be classified as upper lower class these days, a blue collar neighborhood of tiny tract houses—far too tiny for four girls to romp around inside. We ran, jumped rope, swung, swam, biked up and down what we thought was a real hill, and played games we made up with rules that changed at our whim. We knew it was hot, but we seldom thought about it. The heat rolled in waves across the street, and even the few breezes blew hot. We played until the sweat showed in white rivulets down our otherwise grimy faces and dripped off our chins and ear lobes. We just kept on playing because that's all there was to do—that we could afford anyway. We only had three TV channels and cartoons didn't start until 4:00.
Every hour or so we would all tromp into the kitchen where we were playing, either theirs or ours. Each of our mothers kept a half gallon jug of plain tap water in the fridge. No Gatorade, no Kool-Aid, no fruit juice, lemonade, or sodas. Even sweet tea was considered a luxury afforded only for meals. When we came in for the cold jug of water we drank most of it, then refilled it, and stuck it back in the fridge for the next break, which might or might not be on any schedule. We didn't want to ruin a game by stopping in the middle of it. Between us we probably drank a couple gallons of water every morning, and again every afternoon. And that's with no potty breaks—we simply sweated it all away.
No one told us to do it. No one taught us about staying hydrated to stay healthy. We were thirsty so we all came in and drank to our hearts' content, and promptly felt better and were able to play even more, which was the whole point, right?
Funny how the Lord can't get us to stay hydrated. We don't want to take a break in our busy lives to drink that living water, and we don't even realize we're thirsty for it--not until life hands us a nasty surprise and we have no strength to handle it. We think that fancy spring water is just as good; that the fruit flavored variety will be a lot easier to stomach, so we waste our thirst on fluff that won't do the job. Then we collapse on the floor of our trials and don't even have the energy to look for God's real thing.
If we had only taken the time, we would have had what we needed, what sits in the fridge waiting whenever we want it—if only we realized that we did want it, like a certain woman long ago who understood its value immediately. Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” (John 4:13-15).
Like children playing in the hot summer sun of Florida, this woman did not have to be told what she needed. What is getting in our way, what keeps us from seeing what we need so desperately? Stay hydrated—with the water that truly makes a difference.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted." (Isa 12:3-4).