Sunday, 19 March 2017


One of the increasingly important commodities in the world is drinking water.  In 2015, UNICEF reported that 1 in 10 people were unable to access potable water for drinking.  The lack of fluid sustenance, water, is the one thing that is guaranteed to bring about complaints from a group of people quicker than the lack of food (Ex. 17.1-7).  Yet, we live in and on a world that has abundant water.  It is this difference between abundance and scarcity that is highlighted by Christ at the well (Jn 4.5-42).  A stunning comparison when looked at in light of the Israelite's response in the desert and that of the disciples.  We also need to re-think our response in our Lenten journey to determine if we are being like Christ or seeing through the eyes of complaint.

The pressure that is placed upon the leadership group of the Israelites through complaint comes to a head in the scene in Exodus as Moses pleads with God for a solution.  As we read elsewhere this becomes Moses downfall as he behaves in an irascible manner (in a way we cannot blame him given the moans of Israel; how many of us have been in similar situations?).  In times of pressure when people are without or believe themselves to be without we act in a way that is often detrimental to the community as a whole.  For example in our current state of 'lack' or shortage of water I am always amazed by two things.  Firstly, we allow all the abundance of God that falls on our streets to go out into the ocean in our urban areas.  A ruler, in Sri Lanka, at one stage dictated that no water that fell on the ground should go into the ocean without first being used at least twice by the population.  Secondly, some populations in their complaints will not look at the potential of recycling water to ensure a good supply.  Even parts of Africa do that.  This just shows us that we look at things from the point of view of scarcity rather than God's abundance.

Do we see abundance or scarcity?

Christ in his interactions at the well talks about abundance, not scarcity.  God as we have just seen, with the stories of water, is an abundant God, we just have to steward that abundance in a manner that is beneficial to all.  The disciples moan about Christ's interactions without seeing the abundance that is evident in God's presence as the whole community is brought into interaction with Christ.  Christ saw the need and the underlying complaints, of derision and exclusionary practices, but was not panicked into full hardy grandiose shows of power.  Rather he sets the seed into the fertile soil and allows the crop to come into harvest in God's time.  In all our own interactions, wishes, wants and complaints we need to be mindful that God acts not in the way we want but in the way God wishes that will bring benefit to the whole of the community, men, women and children.  We just have to see with eyes that are attuned to God's abundance rather than looking through eyes that are avaricious, greedy and lustful that see opportunity in scarcity.

In times of difficulty within our own lives we tend to see scarcity rather than abundance. In our inability to see the offerings of the Spirit we turn away seeking new sources of abundance rather than understanding that the arid conditions will yield a bountiful harvest in God's time when we work with God rather than for our own needs.  The joys of the Spirit our around us even in the depths of despair.  God works with the abundant overflowing joy of God's grace.  Once we turn around and see God's abundance will we come to see the abundance n our own communities.  An abundance that is waiting to be harvested just like the run off from the rain.  It may be that we are asked to see things from odd angles and different views. Ones perhaps that we do not want to engage with, re-cycled water, but will bring us into abundance once more.

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