Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Opening Wells Where The Waters Are Deep

I am in the middle of a lesson. I do not know the outcome, but let’s just say that God has my ear.

I am in Jeremiah because I had this series of weird dreams and Jeremiah kept coming up. So, to Jeremiah I went. I won’t lie; I feel a bit like Indiana Jones seeking out answers. It is pretty thrilling.

This morning, I found this.

As a well keeps its water fresh,

so she keeps fresh her wickedness;

violence and destruction are heard within her;

sickness and wounds are ever before me. (Jeremiah 6:7, NRSV)

Getting past the obvious…this was intended for Israel, not me. I get that. The relevancy of the prophets always amazes me, though. So, I am honored to learn from the relationship of God and Israel.

The well keeps its water fresh. Innermost is the water of our well. It has its own sound, its own rhythm. It is the undercurrent of the words and actions of a people, or a person. Everyone has this audible quality. It is the sound of our hearts. This is what can be heard by our friends, neighbors, those around us. The sound within our heart comes from the water of our well.

I fear failure more than anything else in the world. The water of my well is kept fresh by staying one step away from ridicule, shame, rejection and trust. I actively bubble in the effort to maintain my safety.

If I wanted to sound pious, I would say that I keep my water fresh with the word of God. Well, that is true. The word is my lifeline from this well in my chest. I must hold tight because my well is fresh with my defenses and cautiousness. It is in need of a formidable foe.

My well tells me that I couldn’t bear to be vulnerable to this world.

So, what is heard within me? What is the audible quality that penetrates through my words and expressions? What does my heart sound like?

No, I am not emotionally available.

No, I cannot open my life to that right now.

I am not willing to serve you in that capacity.

I don’t want people too close to my well. No one wants to hear the fear of another. Isn’t there enough fear in the world, already? The further that you get from the well where the word of God and my most secret thoughts reside, the safer I am.

The most sophisticated manipulation of our undercurrent is what we are willing to lay bare to our Creator. What does all of this fear and bubbling look like in front of God? Israel brought sickness and wounds; the exterior manifestation of an inward problem.

I can go for a long time without acknowledging the undercurrents of my life, even to myself. Occasionally, they will rise to the surface looking like momentary depression or a desire to hide away. Sometimes they will look like envy of those who seem to have no duplicitous waters running deep in their wells. At these times, I ask God to forgive me for my emotional state. We don’t talk about my fear. We don’t talk about my exhaustion from staying one step ahead of failure.

This is an old human pattern, to an old human problem.

Everyone has sin from the inside out. Everyone hates their sin from the inside out. This verse has challenged me to open up the well in my chest and lay it bare before the Lord of hosts, my Father.

I am sure that there are some of you who desperately want to be refreshed, but the task is daunting. Take heart. This is a God who did not forsake His people, but claimed them once and for all with the death of His son. His heart is so gentle and desires to beat with ours. He wants to be the voice heard within us, and the source of our fresh water.

Anyone want to go on this well-opening journey with me?

What is keeping your water fresh?

Father, thank you for calling us to genuine relationship. Lead us to freedom from all of the undercurrents of our lives. Bring us to know you as the sound of our hearts.

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