Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn
Christ is our life. This is an affirmation that we make as Christians. But is it nothing more to us than dogma to which we have been conditioned as faithful churchgoers to give our assent? Or is it something more or altogether different? A man I once met told me how much he enjoyed hiking in the Colorado Rockies. He used to bring with him enough supplies to ascend and descend one of the many trails on the western slopes. Afterward, he’d hitch a ride into a nearby town, buy more supplies, and return to hike a new trail. I asked the man if any one of his many adventures in the Rockies stood out more than the others. The man thought for a moment, and then told me about one hike he vowed he would remember the rest of his life. The head of a trail followed the contours of a small stream. The way was easy, and it did not occur to him to fill his canteen with the water that he would need later in the ascent. The trail veered sharply away from the stream, and the way became rocky and steep. With great effort, he successfully scaled the rugged section of the trail and moved up onto a plateau. Relieved, he continued his ascent. Soon, however, be began to feel thirsty. Looking around, he saw neither stream nor standing water, which he expected to find from the spring thaws. He could only continue the ascent wearily. At a certain point, he simply could go no farther. He then laid down on his back, looked up into the cloudless blue sky, and stared.
He was at a loss, uncertain of what would become of him now.
He then began to hear a buzzing sound. Curious to locate the source, he slowly raised himself up and looked. About thirty or forty feet away, a small group of bees were hovering just above the ground. Going over to the bees, he saw beneath them a small puddle, the last standing water from the late spring thaw. Eagerly he lapped up the water. The man paused. He told me that to this day he still remembers the sensation that came over him at that moment. He felt the water coursing throughout his entire body. Beginning at his core, the water moved through his limbs and then to his outermost extremities. He felt the water infuse new life into his body, enabling to stand on his feet again, and finish his ascent. Christ stood and said in a loud voice: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38). We turn to Christ to satisfy our spiritual thirst. Do we feel this water that he gives us to drink surging through us, enlivening us, and thereby enabling us to continue our ascent?