January 27, 2021

“Christ the Living Water Infiltrating”

Image from Cakedejour and The Joy of Caking

Because I have been away, the cabin has been unattended for a week. When I came in carrying my little propane heater, I saw the thin film of ice that forms in the low spot on my writing table was larger than usual, and I could not begin to write until I thawed it and wiped it up with a towel I keep for just that purpose.

The regular appearance of that sheet of ice (or on warm days puddle of water) disturbs me, for I cannot find its source. To all appearances my cabin is tight. I’ve caulked every crack I can find at least twice. Still the water, insistent and insidious, finds its way in and waits in the center of my table to disrupt my work. What is maddening is that the trail that should allow me to follow the water to the leak has always evaporated.

Today as I waited for it to melt, I saw it as an analogy for the way my sin, as subtle as water, finds the hidden cracks in my life, flows to the center of my work, and disrupts the wholeness of all my relationships. That is a good analogy to consider on Ash Wednesday, for an awareness of sin and a determination to be cleansed is the order of this day. But since the passing of my adolescence, I have never been able to focus long on my evil nature, nor on any particular acts of either omission or commission. I live rather in the awareness of my redemption, of the work of restoration Christ is doing in me and in creation.

Almost as soon as I drew the analogy of sin infiltrating like water, my imagination leaped ahead to another: Christ the living water infiltrating, coming on his own even when we are unaware, uninviting, to bring life to the land. These woods I love are filled with springs. In a few weeks the thaw will come and I will walk nowhere in them apart from water.

• John Leax, “Lent”
in Stories for the Christian Year


  1. I have been enjoying this Lent for the first time. I made no vows to the Lord. I vowed only to myself. No wine during the week, no sweets and no radio. Any one of those would normally be a pain in the arse but since I don’t feel bound by obligation they are not hanging over me. I’ll drink a whole dang bottle of wine with a bag of M&M’s right now if I really want to but I don’t. These are tools I’ve adopted to help me get into the wilderness while living in suburbia and they are of great assistance. I am finding the living water and it’s really good. I hope it keeps up. It feels like being on retreat. Much better oriented than my normally dim-witted self.

  2. The Living Water drowns us…and it washes away our sin and gives us new life.

    I am reminded of Baptism.


  3. I want to go camping sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad! 😀 Thanks CM!!

  4. Great analogies! Love the photo that pictures the work of His Spirit as confession and repentance allows us to be refilled and cleansed. Thanks for this post and keen insights. I also saw a great sailing photo in a pastor’s office that reminds us of the wind of the Spirit that fills us as wind fills the sails.

  5. Beautiful.

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