Thales one of the earliest Greek philosophers searching for the basic material of the universe; the one substance from which everything emerged had deduced that water must be that fundamental substance for everything else. He observed that water was essential to life, had motion and could change appearance.
Water is undoubtedly the elixir of life. We use it for everything and anything: cooking, cleaning, building, drinking etc. It absolutely essential to life, without it we would die of thirst. It is one of the necessary components required for any life form to thrive. We are drawn to its beauty and never tire of flocking to rivers and beaches and oceans to immerse ourselves in it. Even more than that water has often been ascribed with mystical powers in various cultures. From water from the ocean having healing powers and bringing good fortune to holy water.
Lauryn Hill pens a poetic melody that sounds like gentle waters caressing and soothing the soul. I feel like this could have come right out of the book of Psalms. An ode to the one who described himself as being the giver of living water. I imagine Lauryn wrote this song after reading the gospel of John. In his gospel account, John narrates a life changing conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. Jesus asks the woman for a drink, she was surprised that a Jew would ask a Samaritan for water. Jesus responds “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” Jesus offers her living water, a metaphor for the deepest longings and yearnings of our soul. He offers our lives the meaning we are desperately searching for. Lauryn Hill expresses that refreshing encounter with the living water who moves with grace and love in the details and stream of our lives.
Moving down the streams of my lifetime
Pulls the fascination in my sleeve
Cooling off the fire of my longing
Boiling off my cold within his heat
Melting down the walls of inhibition
Evaporating all of my fears
Baptizing me into complete submission
Dissolving my condition with his tears
The story continues as the woman then asks Jesus, where does one get this living water? Jesus replies that Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again. Our deepest longings, mind boggling questions and search for coherence cannot be found in the material pursuits. There is a different type of water that we need. The fascinating thing about Jesus was that he never simply claimed to have the right answers and philosophies and principles to live by, his claims we unimaginably far bolder and grandiose than that. He claimed to be the embodiment of the truth, and that only the truth could set us free.
When you trace back the origin of philosophy – the primary question that plagued the early Greek thinkers was what is the underlying, unchanging, ultimate reality that is the reason why anything and everything else exists. They called this fundamental principle the logos. The apostle John in his gospel account, opens up with the words: In the beginning was the word (logos), and the logos was with God and logos was God…and the word became flesh and dwelt among us. He brings good news that the logos is not merely abstract and theoretical but is rather a personal God, and not merely a personal God content in His ivory tower imposing His will on us and far removed from our small daily struggles but one who became human and joined us in our struggle for existence that we might know Him fully. I can relate to how Lauryn feels as she details her encounter with Jesus,and how it completely transforms our being, as we allow Him to float through the space of our design.
Coursing through my senses, he’s prevailing
Floating through the space of my design
Drowning me to find my inside sailing
Drinking in the mainstream of his mind
Filling up the cup of my emotions
Spilling over into all I do
If I only I could get lost in his ocean
Surviving on the thought of loving you
I came to Jesus expecting to find the correct philosophy, instead I found a living and active person. I recall the day so clearly where I cried and poured my heart out to God, uncertain of whether He was really there or not. I asked Him, if He really is there, if He really did create us for a purpose, if He is real I want to know Him, I want to know His thoughts, what He had in mind when he conceived me. What I have discovered is that in, the words of Francis Schaeffar, He is there and He is not silent. My life has been radically changed by Jesus. My mind has been set alight for a passion for truth.
In Oscar Wilde’s book, The Picture of Dorian Gray, one of the characters, Basil, retells how an encounter with Dorian Gray changed his life, he pens it so beautifully that it captures exactly my encounter with Jesus. Basel says, “I knew that I had come face to face with someone whose mere personality was so fascinating that if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself. I did not want any external influence in my life. You know yourself, Harry, how independent I am by nature. I have always been my own master, had atleast always been so, till I met
Dorian Gray Jesus.” He goes on further to say in another scene, “He is all my art to me now…I see things differently I can now recreate life in a way that was hidden from me before…Some subtle influence passed from him to me, and for the first time in my life I saw in the plain woodland the wonder I had always looked for and always missed.”
Jesus invites us to follow him, and promises us that what he gives will be a spring of water welling up to eternal life. He is like no other water that we can find. We were made for relationships, communication and love. Our most meaningful experiences, deepest longings and treasures come from relationships. If Jesus is who he claims he is; the creator and maker of all; the giver of life and purpose; the embodiment of truth with the power to describe reality accurately then it follows that our joy, happiness and destiny lie in a relationship with him.