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Lenten Lights K ~ Living Water

Abrams Creek

Watch out! Moving through Lent and toward this Sunday’s worship, we are going to get wet. Water is a central character in three readings this week. And how precisely fitting! We humans are more than 70 percent water. The same percentage of earth’s surface is covered with water. Without water to drink, we die. It is central to the baptismal rituals of our belonging to God. Both the absence and the abundance of water are powerful and can be dangerous. The children of Israel cried out to Moses, “Did you bring us out to this wilderness to kill us with thirst?” The woman at the well asked Jesus, “Where do you get this living water?”

Someone said to me recently, “you can’t pick up a rock and put it back down in the same river.” Sounds true. Yet a counter truth also runs through the stream in today’s Lenten Light photo. My earliest memory of Abrams Creek is wading in the cold waters at five years old. My brother and I watched a guy with long hair and cut-off shorts take his bath, compete with soap. We giggled in amazement.

The stream runs through the Cades Cove camping and picnic areas. I’ve been in and beside Abrams more times than I can count. . . birthdays, mother’s days, youth outings, anniversaries, holidays, and for no reason other than to enjoy it. Stories from every era and chapter of my life circle through that picnic area, over the stones and across the downed trees, caught in photos, journal entries, shared memories. The place is a flowing symbol of the earth’s need for care and renewal.

Water running in Abrams is always new, yet over time, the place has grown sacred. These accumulations turn the creek into living water, alive with newness and a promise of renewal, and at the same time alive with the fullness of memory and meaning. Light dances on these waters, and I’m still amazed.

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