Water images have dominated my thoughts this week. Gary Bailey’s funeral (see 1/5 post), the Life of Pi, and my Sunday sermon all have strong water themes. The Life of Pi centers on a sea survival story; my sermon will be on Jesus’ baptism. Water evokes both fear and hope, death and life.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I saw a lot of water. On a clear day my family home had a view of the Puget Sound, but I also experienced plenty of clouds and rain. The abundant rain kept everything green and alive, but when I had to deliver the afternoon newspaper, rain could make the load and route miserable. While backpacking in the mountains I would marvel at how glaciers of ice carved such spectacular landscape. Yet when it became necessary to cross glacier-fed rivers, I realized that with one wrong step I could easily become one of boulders tumbling towards the sea.
In the Bible water is a symbol of the chaos and destruction as well as life. In Genesis 1:2, the water is part of the dark void before God’s creative Word is spoken. In Exodus the Red Sea destroys the Egyptian army while providing a means of escape for the Israelites. In I Kings 17-18, a drought is a sign of God’s displeasure with King Ahab, but later Elijah demonstrates God’s power to bring healing rain. Jesus calms the stormy sea that threatens life in Mark 4 while in John 4 Jesus offers the Samaritan woman living water. Water can destroy or give life.
What water image brings you life or hope?