I used to like to take showers.
When I would wake up in the morning, the water would tap me alive again. When I would finish a run, the water would massage my tired muscles. When I would come in from the garden, the water just washed and rinsed and carried away the dirt I was wearing, taking it back to where it belonged.
Since I got Tilly, though, I haven’t enjoyed showers so much.
When she was little, I didn’t trust her anywhere else in the house, so I locked her in the bathroom with me, and she would stand next to the tub with her little paws hanging over the edge. She licked at the water, and jumped in once or twice.
As she got older and the potential for jumping in only grew, my showers got faster and faster. Now, she’s so big and so willful, that I put a gate across the door and keep her just outside the bathroom. She barks and barks the whole time I am showering. And no matter how much I try to linger there, letting the water awaken or heal or clean me, I always end up hurrying. The barking does that to me.
Sometimes, I almost forget to rinse my hair.
Recently, I was a surrogate parent for toddler swim lessons at the local YMCA. Friends of mine have two-year-old triplets, and two parents wasn’t enough. I got to attend three sessions, and the first two went well.
During my third toddler swim lesson, though, Benjamin was just getting over an ear infection, and Luke fell and hit his head, and Abigail just wanted her mommy. With three wailing two-year-olds in tow, we attempted to join in with the others.
Even on the best nights, there were always a few tears shed. So we hoped once the children were in the water that they would find their way. When the crying only got worse, though, we eventually decided to scrap the lesson and call it an early night. We strapped on sandals, wrapped the children in towels, and headed for the showers.
In the beginning, the showers were scarier than the pool, and the children screamed most loudly when the warm water landed on their heads. But this night, after a miserable lesson and feeling even more miserable from his ear infection, little Benjamin gave in to the gently falling water.
After a quick wash up, I let him just stand under the shower while his mom finished with Abigail. His small little body just melted with relaxation, and though the water pooled like tears around his eyes, he couldn’t have been more comfortable, more at peace.
This time, he cried when we told him he had to leave the warmth of the steamy stall.
It’s Sunday morning, and I am sitting in a pew surrounded by several hundred people. I’ve been thinking about water most of the morning.
Before I left the house, I was thinking about Psalm 1 and the righteous man, planted there by the streams of water. I knew the morning’s sermon would will be from this passage, so it was on my mind.
In Sunday School, we studied Ezekiel 47 and 48, and the water flowing from the temple, the water that keeps getting deeper and cannot be forded. The water that gives life wherever it goes. And the angel asks Ezekiel, “Son of man, have you seen this?”
And while I sit there in the pew with all the people, I see up front children giving testimonies and receiving life from the baptism waters, and then the pictures of flowing water flash on the screens in front of me, and I hear more about the water from the musicians on stage:
Jesus, I need mercy
I need cleansing from the burden of so many sins
You are the water
And I offer all of my life into your hands
And then it dawns on me. Jesus is saying to me, “Daughter, have you seen this?”
I am the water that can’t be forded.
I am the warm stream washing away the tears.
I am the Living Water. Come.
And I do.
*Lyrics from “Fill Me Up” by Jared Anderson
Photo by Kr. B. via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.