by Karen Boyd
The other day I was reminded about the small town of my youth. I grew up in Logan, Utah a lovely town that rests in Cache Valley, only about 15 miles from the Idaho border. In my day it was, and I imagine to an extent still is, carpeted with green fields of alfalfa and the home to herds of dairy cows. Winter brings a blanket of snow covering the surrounding mountains and the valley alike. In spring, the water runoff from the mountains pours into rivers and canals, which then provide water for the farms. I remember as a youth walking or cycling along the roads and seeing men irrigate the fields by deftly lowering a rigid hose into the ditch, which was fed by one of the canals, and flipping it over the ditch-bank letting the water flood the fields. Our homes were also watered with the runoff by means of a sluice gate. When it was our turn for water, we opened the gate and flooded the yard. This made for a wonderful time playing in the cool water on a hot summer day, and provided an excellent hunting ground for night crawlers that evening when the sun went down.
Lent, for me, is a ‘wintery’ time for my soul. Not a cold, bleak, and barren time by any means, but a personal time of penitence and renewal that happens within, under a protective cover of God, much like my snow covered mountains in the winter. After a time spring arrives, Easter comes with the resurrection of our Lord from the dead, and with His resurrection, we too are resurrected into new life with Him. The snow melts and the waters flow, but in this new life in Christ the water that flows is living water.
Like in my lovely hometown, the water flows from on high, into our communities and into our lives. We can open up the sluice gates, dredge our hoses into that channel of living water and grace, and let it flow and flood our hearts, minds, and souls.
But it doesn’t end there! As we immerse ourselves in the love of God, this water only flows if it finds a channel from us to another of God’s creations. Like the farms, and the fields, and the homes of my youth, we all have a different purpose. Each of us has a gift, a charism, a gift from the Holy Spirit, freely and graciously given. These gifts are meant to be shared, to be freely and graciously given away by us to all of God’s creatures and creation.
It is my hope and prayer in this holy and beautiful season of new life and new growth, you will take time to sit with the risen Christ, to consider the gifts you have been given, and see where the thirst of the world might be quenched by your sharing the water of life as your gift to the world.