Some of you know my love for flowing water – the ocean, a mountain stream, a river – it has been a recurring theme in my spirit for as long as I can remember. For several years I had a beloved fountain – not a wimpy desktop size – but a “serious” fountain. Being a typical male I know that bigger is better. My fountain stood over 4 feet tall, held over 30 gallons of water and filled the air with the vibrant sounds of a waterfall – too big and too loud for any room in our home. When I used it inside we either could not hear each other talk or our trips to the “facilities” greatly multiplied so the fountain stood silent most of the time. In our last house we had a great screened in porch which became home for my fountain and I have loved reading and writing in the shade of the porch awash in the sounds of the nearby waterfall.
The final Fall that I had with my beloved fountain [this timing is important] Joyce and I spent a “warm” evening on a cold night [temperature was like 20 degrees the entire week before it] with good friends and were given the tour of their beautiful home. My favorite part was their back yard which was home to a fountain that dwarfed mine as well as a fish pond. As I shivered in the cold I was surprised to hear the sound of running water – their pond had to run year round to keep the water aerated or the fish would die. I was reminded that flowing water doesn’t freeze unless the bottom really falls out of the thermometer. Two days later I made a terrible discovery. I’m usually pretty careful about maintenance issues but last fall when I was “winterizing” my precious fountain I got interrupted. I removed the motor from the water and bled the waterlines but was diverted before I could drain the 30 gallons of water in the base of the fountain…I never came back to finish the job. I didn’t remember until I went out on the porch weeks later and noticed the fountain looked different. The base was cracked and not just a little! Before I got near enough to look in I knew what I would find. The water had frozen solid. When 30 gallons of water turns to ice it expands…did you know that? And ice is harder and stronger than fiberglass…did you know that too? Suddenly I had a beautiful flower pot filled with ice – it wasn’t leaking yet but when spring came… I say “flower pot” because my beautiful fountain will be forever silent. The pump would still work and the waterlines would do their job but the base wouldn’t hold water to be pumped – all for want of a little bit of maintenance.
Why do I tell you this besides my need to share my grief? I tell you this because I am reminded of Jeremiah 2:13, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” The people of Israel had forgotten that it was God who brought them out of slavery and into a land of “milk and honey.” They had gotten lazy in their relationship with him, finally turning their backs on God and seeking security and life from self-made religious systems. But their self-made efforts were nothing more then broken cisterns that could hold no water. They went thirsty due to their own religiosity expecting to be refreshed and found only an empty well. And [like me and my fountain] all for the want of a little maintenance.
It takes maintenance, whether we are talking about my fountain or our relationship with God. And often it only takes a little maintenance, certainly less than the work it takes to repair the broken fountain or our broken relationship with God. We seldom make a full turn away all at once– usually we just let our attention slip a little at a time. How is it with you right now? Are you thirsty? Have you tried to go to the well only to find what little water may still be there is stagnant or possibly even found your well empty? Maybe you’ve just been too busy lately to find time in God’s presence in prayer and study. I hope not. Broken wells are hard to fix. But God invites us to return to Him. During this season of Lent God is waiting to embrace us. In that embrace we can hear, feel, and taste fresh running water. All it takes is a little maintenance.
Anybody need a 30 gallon fiberglass rock shaped flower pot?
For The Only Cause That Matters,
Pastor Kevin McKinney