Monday 9 November 2020
Today is Monday the 9 November, in the 32nd week of Ordinary Time.
The community of Taizé sing De noche iremos: ‘By night we search for the source of living water. It is only our thirst that guides our way.’ This time of prayer is an opportunity to quench that thirst a little - my thirst for God, the source of life - a chance to drink from the spring, from the source of living water, and be refreshed.
Today’s reading is from the Prophet Ezekiel.
Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple towards the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me round on the outside to the outer gate that faces towards the east; and the water was coming out on the south side. He said to me, ‘This water flows towards the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.’
In the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 47 marks a change of focus. The people have been 25 years in exile and few remember how it used to be. They are at their lowest point, holding only negative thoughts about their future. Without doubt, this past year has been difficult for many. And now, as we move into winter here in the UK, where are your thoughts? If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, do you feel as though there are brighter days ahead, or do you feel weighed down by the challenges you are facing?
Ezekiel’s vision is not wishful thinking, an attempt to look on the bright side. Instead, Ezekiel is reminding the people that what they need, they cannot create themselves. What they need is a renewed vision of who God is, and to accept that they have overlooked the grace that was theirs for the asking. The extravagant imagining of ‘living water’, revisited in John’s gospel, as the abundant outpouring of grace into the most neglected and hopeless of places, bringing life and healing to all.
As you listen to the reading again, watch with Ezekiel as the waters flow, see where they make their way into you, your heart, your experiences.
‘Everything will live where the river goes,’ Do I hear myself called to the river? Will I invite the grace of God to go where it is needed?
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.