Water of Life
There’s an old story called “The Water of Life” that goes something like this:
The water of life, wishing to make itself known on the face of the Earth, bubbled up in an artisian well and flowed without effort or limit. People gathered around this well to drink of its magic water, and were nourished by it, as it was so clean, pure, and invigorating. But humankind was not content to leave things in this Edenic state. Gradually they began to fence the well, charge admission, claim ownership of the property around it, make elaborate laws as to who could come to the well, and put locks on the gates. Soon the well was the property of the powerful and the elite. This angered and offended the water. So it stopped flowing there, and found a new place to bubble up. The people at the first well were so engrossed in their power systems and ownership that they didn’t notice that the life force of the water had vanished. So they continued selling the lifeless water and few people noticed that the true power and spirit of the water had gone. However, some people did notice. And with great courage these people searched and found the new artisian well. But soon, that well fell under the control of a few, and the same fate overtook it. So the spirit of the spring took itself to yet another place. And this has been going on throughout recorded history.
There’s something that rings sadly true about this story in our modern times at the cultural level. But the beauty of this story, and the real gem of this story, is the idea that true spiritual nourishment is always flowing somewhere and is available to any person who has the presence of heart and mind to notice where it is and where it isn’t. And who then has the courage and dedication to follow it where it goes.
Spiritual nourishment flows in unexpected places where it escapes the control of our habits and fears. It’s a source that beckons us to the unfamiliar where our senses are turned on, requiring our non-mechanical presence and open-hearted attention.
Oftentimes, we are the ones putting rules and fences on the nourishing waters that long to flow through us. If the life force seems to have left something in your life where it once was – a place, an activity, an art form, a vocation – consider taking some of the rules and customs off of it. Or, perhaps the source has changed shape or location and you need to go out and find it anew. If you don't know where to find it yet, just go out looking. Follow the scent of what you find beautiful and what calls to your heart. It's better to be lost for a while than to stay somewhere or in something where you know there's no nourishment flowing. Be brave and seek the holy water.