Water is everywhere in scripture. Jesus as the Living Water. Crossing the Red Sea. Being baptized in water. Jonah being thrown overboard and swallowed by a fish. The disciples on stormy seas. Jesus and Peter walking on water. When I’m upset or stressed, or life gets to be too much, I am automatically drawn to water. I went recently to sit by the lake and just think and calm down, and I noticed how still it was, with the water barely moving, and I thought back to some of these different times in the Bible when water was the major backdrop for events.
Sometimes we are facing the Red Sea— enemies are chasing us, we don’t know what we’re going to do, and there’s no way out. The water then can be intimidating and inspire anxiety and fear. Then, we see God part the waters, and make a way. It builds our faith to know that He can do the impossible.
Sometimes we are Noah, building a boat, preparing for the floods to come. We save money or we invest in our spiritual health or we make sure our kids have a good spiritual foundation. Not because we are in trouble, but because we know one day the waters will come, and they might be a light rain at first, but eventually they will be a flood and we need to be ready, and so God prepares us, instructing us in the ways that will keep us safe.
Sometimes we are the woman at the well, desperate for our daily drink of water, carrying it on our shoulders and coming back the next day, desperate for our next drink until we encounter the living water.
Sometimes we are Peter, demanding to walk on water and do the impossible if it is really the Lord speaking to us, then rapidly sinking when we shift our focus from the source of our power to the situation we are in.
I have been all of these places. Preparing myself for terrible times, going back to the well again and again, terrified by what seems to be impossible. The water has felt threatening and suffocating and impossible to survive.
But then I was reminded, by the calm and quiet of the lake, of Psalm 23:1 where David says, “He leads me by still waters.” I haven’t considered what this might mean in the past, not really. I’ve read it and memorized it and spouted it off a million times without wondering what it meant. It occurred to me that God reveals himself sometimes through rough waters, in the storm and chaos to show us that he is able. And sometimes he reveals himself as the living water, the one who can quench every thirst we have. In this passage though, we are specifically told that He leads us by still waters. Waters that aren’t threatening, but meandering and smooth. The kind of place were you could lean down and take a drink, or you could go for a swim, or you could lay down and take a nap while the gentle sounds lull you into a restful sleep.
Over the past year, God has revealed himself as powerful, and as present in stressful times, and I have existed in a near constant state of anxiety or grief or struggle. Now though, God says he wants me to be led by the still waters. A place to be refreshed and healed and find solace from a journey that has been too much at times and made me feel like I would never be enough. As we get ready for the next phase of our lives, let God lead you by still waters. He is able to control storms and part seas, but I think right now he’s inviting us to rest by the still waters. Let him lead you there, and rest. —Amanda