"Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” —John 4:10
What is this water that Jesus may give?
Where is it, where does it flow?
Can it be found in our cities of sorrows,
Our broken hearts, in some dying hedgerow
Of sound judgement as the morrow
Breaks under a tin-sheet sky?
The answer is no.
The water is the gift of God; within us it flows.
The water itself is the gift!
Arcadian symphony of sound and lift—
Drink of it and thirst we no longer.
But…how to find it exactly—where?
For it runs not in some river; streams not from taps
Nor droplets fallen through air—
And those who drink of such aquas,
Knowing they will inevitably thirst again,
Go on looking, go on thirsting
At every station,
Semi-conscious of an aridity
And though tongues be pleasant,
Taps may be cut off, streams dry up.
But the flow of living water is inside us,
A stream that is eternal, a cup
Into which you look, tentatively at first,
A pool that never empties,
Pool of consolation,
Place of no thirst.
“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” —John 7:37-38
Out of the belly and into the riverbanks of the spine
The water flows gracefully, circumnavigating
Occasionally into pools of marvel—
It is water, inquisitiveness, divine energy, all
Combined into the living Holy Spirit,
Listen for the sound, so easily you hear it!
Here on the banks of this river we encounter Jesus,
But there are two of him—Jesus the adult man
And Young Jesus, a teen so adventurous yet
Alert and heedful of the flow. The river can
Occasionally exceed its banks. Young Jesus, with
Spunk and curiosity, follows to wherever they may lead
These smaller tributaries and rivulets—past shoulders,
islets and headlands—on his words you feed.
As you follow along, aware of his subtle graces,
Aware that he is not only your shepherd
But the sun of your heart, He spaces
His steps over the bending hills, along the waters,
Leading you at last to a field of sunflowers and hibiscus,
In its center another swirling pool
Through which the divine presence steps forward and greets you.
“For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” —Revelation 7:17
Sprayed trails splintered into tiny seed hulls,
A scattering of them tossed across the Elysian fields
Of heaven in endless duplication—a repetition of indelicacies.
One man under a bridge. Not too far away
Knuckles rapped on a door. “I really do,” she said.
“It’s probably the most horrible wind chime they sell.”
How many of these things do they stock?
The weather is like a severed hand upon a plate.
The plate can be moved here, there, from one
Locale to another, but it is still a severed hand upon a plate.
The Laodiceans are neither cold nor hot,
All charismata lost; the flamens sit upon the balustrade,
Shifting shadows, cast by not-so-heavenly lights,
Darting just beyond their deliberately averted eyes.
The seduction, the war, the queen of the drama
And the drama of the queen. Munro paced his apartment
With a disturbed air. The last of the Mohicans. Bards of
Yesteryear—no more. Now only the propagandists remain.
Dick Taylor died, Betty Lou Hobbs, so many others.
What will be left to the children who reap what we have sown?
“And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” —Revelation 21:6-7
The mysteries kept hidden for ages and generations…
Pause a while at one of the pools—
Look into it. What do you see? Reach into it.
What do you touch? It is
The Alpha and Omega to they who thirst,
The riches of this mystery,
Christ in you—the hope of glory.
At each pool we comingle with the divine
Presence of God. This is the knowledge spoken of:
“Woe to you experts in the law, because
You have taken away the key to knowledge.
You yourselves have not entered,
And you have hindered those who were entering”—
A jib, a triangular sail, a discarded phylactery…
Up the Living River Jesus sailed with a stop at each
Pool: Bethany, Bethphage, Gethsemane,
On to the temple where the tables are upended,
To the upper room, the cross at Golgotha—
One week in the Life of the Living River—
Finally the tomb, become the bright star,
Where death was overcome.
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life…and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations…And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” —Revelation 22: 1-2, 17
The water of life—it is the gift
Arcadian symphony of sound and lift,
Forth past towering cliffs to glide
Here in this current we abide—
It’s harp, its flute, its clavichord
A crystal so august and fine
The wonder of divine reward
The water’s source is the Word,
Living spring both felt and heard,
Logos substrate—holds up all,
Even blissful waterfall,
Flowers and the shade trees tall.
Living heritage still now ours,
Veridically the river calls.
“Come,” say the Spirit and the bride
Walking at the river’s side
The bread pans rebuilt something new
Eyes to see, to know what’s true,
Up to the fountain we have trod
Feeling love’s piercing pang
Softly towards the throne of God
Living River, the Father’s gift—
Smooth its banks, no fissure or rift,
Pause a while at Grateful’s pool,
The heart this mercy’s vestibule;
Those who love me see what’s true:
That I am in the Father,
You’re in me, and I in you.