It was the tail end of the 2021 summer heat wave and my son and I were halfway up Mt. Adams. Despite hiking near glaciers, the heat had us sweating and stopping often. As we knelt near a stream to refill our water bottles, my trusty old water filter suddenly broke beyond repair. My son and I just stared at each other in disbelief!
You see, we have watched WAY too many survival shows to ever consider drinking unfiltered water in the wilderness. Sure, the risk is minimal, but stories of those infected with Giardia are not pretty. Fortunately, my son had stowed away a LifeStraw as an extra precaution. So like dogs on our bellies, we rehydrated ourselves directly from the stream, sharing the LifeStraw.
Yet there was still a problem. This little glacier stream was probably our last access to liquid water until we completed our final ascent (and descent). There was just no practical way to refill our water bottles with our LifeStraw. How would we stay hydrated on our way to the 12,000 ft summit? We knew that turning back was not an option. Despite our overly sensitive fear of intestinal parasites, we decided that the glacial runoff was probably safer than the tap water at our house. We dunked our water bottles directly in the stream, and completed our journey (with no unhealthy consequences later on).
In John chapter 4 Jesus describes to a woman from Samaria a type of living water that would quench her thirst permanently. The source of the living water is Jesus. The cost for this living water was paid at the cross through His death and resurrection. There is no payment required to receive this living water other than faith and full surrender. A life without thirst is always fully hydrated with love, joy, and peace.
Often we are too easily satisfied with the murky water of this world that always leaves us wanting more and never satisfies. C.S. Lewis writes:
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Sometimes we attempt a watered-down Christianity. We want both the perfect riches of the eternal Kingdom and the incomplete temporary riches of this world. We turn Jesus into our LifeStraw. We use him when necessary to partially purify our participation in the “mud pies” we insanely prefer over a “holiday at the sea.” Jesus is our Living Water. May we fix our eyes on Him as the author and perfecter of our faith, rather than a temporary $10 Costco fix to our self-imposed trials.
So if you ever see me on a mountain with 3 water filters in my pack, don’t call me a hypocrite. If my path crosses a Jewish carpenter who offers me a drink, I’m all in!