Do you ever have those days – or series of days – where you feel numb to life? Everything is racing by – and sure, you’re going through the motions, too – but it’s all achy and empty and feels lifeless… and you feel much the same wandering through them. That’s how these last few days have been for me. I could go through a long list of things that have caused these days to have been this way. It’s easy enough to find things or people to blame for my slump, but what happened is immaterial. More importantly, I think, is how I respond in these circumstances – in these dry days. This evening, I realized I have not done a great job at responding.
I suppose I could describe my life as a sponge. This analogy probably breaks down pretty quickly, but please overlook that and just consider these points. When a sponge is squeezed, it releases what it has absorbed. If you squeeze a sponge until it is dry, it stops releasing. If the dry sponge doesn’t soak in anything, it will remain dry – no matter how hard you squeeze it… and if you try to wash something with a dry sponge, you’ll find that the sponge in that state is not very effective.
The various challenges that have hit me in the last couple of days have left me very dry. At first, when the squeezing began, I thought, “Wow, Jesus! This is pretty good! I’m responding just like You want me too!” Of course, I recognized that the gentle and joyful responses were His natural reactions and not mine, but – silly me – instead of throwing myself back at His feet to “fill up” with His goodness, I kept marching, full speed ahead. Then, when the squeezing continued, I stopped liking the response. It wasn’t gentle and joyful and sincere from my heart. I was feeling the strain, but I still didn’t run to Jesus for more of Him. Dry sponge has stumbled through the last few days at the end of herself.
Now, lest you think I’m some sort of heathen (hahahaha), let me assure all of you, good-religious-little-rodent that I am, I have continued with my daily time in the Word of God… but it has been utterly lifeless. It hasn’t touched my heart, because I haven’t been exposing it. I haven’t given access to the King of Kings – and, like the woman at the well in this morning’s reading, I haven’t asked Him for a drink. That makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Come to the Water of Life. Have a look around. Listen to the water flowing. Salivate a little. Turn away as dry and thirsty as I came. Yeah. That makes perfect sense. NOT!
But, seriously people, that’s what I’ve been doing! Wow.
And… here’s something else Jesus said in today’s reading that is coming back to my mind now as I type,
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life.” -John 15:39-40 ESV
It’s not enough for me to go through the motions if there is no life in them. “The motions” will in no way sustain me. Maybe I can slide by with them – and if I’m a really naturally nice person, maybe nobody will notice – but my spirit will die a slow death unless I give it the only thing that sustains it – the Water of Life.
Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He called us to abide in Him. Abiding is way deeper than just acting good. We are called to drink of Jesus – continually – like a sponge drinks water – like a branch sucks sap from the vine – to receive of Him! Ongoing fellowship. Alive and dynamic. Continual.
Anyway, I’m thankful that Jesus woke me up this evening, and I need to go soak. Nothing else is going to fill this dry sponge like the Living Water who is Jesus.