Sunday, February 11, 2007

Living Water

I have been scanning slides today from trips taken twenty to thirty years ago and have had a good time reminiscing about my experiences. In 1977, I attended the World Congress of Physiotherapy in Tel Aviv, Israel and spent two weeks in the country. Our group did a lot of sightseeing and while there were plenty of security checks, the political scene was less volatile that it is there today.

I am standing in the Hermon River at the base of Mount Hermon located in the north east region of the country. Much earlier that day we had departed the hot, parched desert of the Dead Sea area and had driven north along the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee to Caesarea Philippi. The Hermon River is one source of the Jordan River. After a long, hot journey it was refreshing to stand in its cold, spring-fed waters. The vegetation was lush and green, migrating birds flew in large flocks above us, and stands of conifers stood in contrast to the desert we had left behind.

The picture reminded me of the verse in Proverbs 11:25 which says,

“The generous man will be prosperous,
And he who waters will himself be watered.”

The water that flowed over my feet gathered with other streams to create a system that irrigated much of the land of Israel. As long as the current moved, the water gave life and energy to man, animals and vegetation. Once it reached the Dead Sea, it stopped flowing and reached a salination level that caused death for most organisms.

We are often encouraged to spend excessive time and money on our own personal needs and pleasures. We may contribute a small amount to a charitable cause from time to time, but this is seldom the first thing we do with our assets. While self care is important, life is most fulfilling when we give freely to others.

I visited with an elderly man recently and listened to him tell stories of his past. As I left he said, “Thank you for listening to me. Some people come to visit and they don’t pay attention to what I am saying. They keep interrupting me to talk about their lives.”

Wow! I realized that I have often been guilty of distraction and inattention too.

This week I am going to try to be more generous in watering others, with my time and attention, my money, my praise and encouragement. Even if others do not acknowledge my efforts, I will surely be rewarded.

5 comments:

  1. What a lovely meditative reflection on the literal and symbolic power of water.
    No wonder water is used time and again in scriptures as metaphor for what sustains, renews & refreshes.

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  2. KGMom- Thanks for your comment. Water is important anywhere, but when I visited Israel, I recognized how much value it has in a land with so much desert. The scriptures have even more meaning in context.

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  3. Beautiful post, Ruth. It touched me that you listened so kindly to that gentleman. You're in a position to do that every day and giving of your ears is a blessing.

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  4. One of my faults is that I don't listen well and long enough before interjecting... thanks for the reminder of how much it means.

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  5. Mary and Jayne- I often struggle with paying full attention to others. I am so accustomed to multi-tasking that my mind tends to wander when others talk.
    Ask my children..."Mom, you are not listening!"
    This post was a reminder to myself to try and be more attentive to others.
    Interestingly, I went to church after I posted this and the pastor's message was
    Moving Away From Self-Centredness! I must have needed a double reminder.

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