Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Metaphor for Life

Imagine if you will, an oasis in the middle of a desert. (Don’t close your eyes or you won’t be able to continue.)

As much as the desert is ruthlessly hot, fraught with danger and unrelenting in its assault on your body, the oasis is a haven of peace, rest and healing.

In the middle of the oasis is a well, filled with life-giving water. It is deep. It is pure. It is easily accessible. It supports the entire ecosystem that makes up the oasis.

As you crawl in, depleted…physically and emotionally, you are in awe of the richness that now surrounds you. You see the well and realize just how thirsty you are, but as your eyes drink in the sights your heart races at the possibilities as you begin to explore. Distracted by the beauty you think, “I’ll make it to the well in a moment, but I want to enjoy the cool shade.” Hour after hour, day after day you enjoy the food and the other survivors you meet.

Somehow you never make it to the well. Everything else just seems good enough. Until it isn’t.
Dehydration takes its toll. Every time you feel its affects you head toward the well. But that pineapple or mango take off the edge and the well seems less important. Eventually you die of dehydration.
Our culture is a moral desert. It is sucking the life out of us. It is as unrelenting as the Sahara. The church is an oasis in the desert. It is meant to provide and sustain life. All we have to do is drink from the well.

The well is far more than what we do for Christ. It is our connection with Christ, who we are in Christ. It is not about our salvation, but our sanctification, or growth in Christ. Though the well is rooted in our spiritual disciplines, it is not those disciplines alone. It is our orientation to find all we are in Christ, and then to surrender it all to Christ. 

Unfortunately we get distracted too easily…serving, living, surviving…too busy to ever make it to the well. And, we wonder why we’re thirsty. We’re in the oasis, isn’t that enough? We live as if our world will spin out of control at any moment, as if we’ve lost our center. We think that the more we do to make the oasis a better place, the better off we’ll be. We’ve become spiritually dehydrated.

The well gives life. It alone makes the oasis the best place to be. Drink from the well.