"The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let everyone who hears say, "Come." And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift." (The Revelation of John 22:17)
This was one of the lessons that we read this past weekend in the community I've been spending time in each month. It reminds me of a lot of disconnected things. My first thought was "Come as you are." That first and foremost, we are acceptable to God without prettying ourselves up or somehow making ourselves more presentable (borrowing a word my mother used on me as a kid). The second thing I thought of was the phrase, "Let everyone who is thirsty" - who isn't thirsting for something? Whether for love, relationship, transformation, intimacy...we all are thirsting for something deeper, something real. It's what leads most of us to God, to the Church, and perhaps to community. Certainly my life has been an exercise in thirst these days.
I thirst for normalcy. I thirst for calmness, for peace. For some sort of tranquility in the midst of a tumultuous time. There are times at church, when it is quiet, that I find myself tearing up. I crave that quiet, that silence. And so often I'm unable to get there on my own, because my own life seems so...well...noisy...these days anyway.
Even more so, I find myself thirsting for the love of God in a way that I am unaccustomed to. My opinion or image of God is changing. Rather than a distant force who put his own son to death to fix my sins, more and more I see God as not only wanting relationship with me, but in some ways *thirsting* for it himself (or herself). And my response..."let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift." I wish. I want the relationship... and so I take the water of life from my God.
This brings me to my third thought, (or fourth or fifth)...I'm not very used to "taking" anything. I'm more of a giver. I'm not used to receiving, to accepting help, to taking something from another. It's a challenge. But it is only in the receiving that I am made whole. I cannot do it on my own. And all the giving in the world won't get me there either. I must be able to receive, and the word "take" is even stronger. It is a word of claiming. Claiming one's God-given gift(s), redemption, love. Not sheepishly holding one's hand out, embarrassed of being needy. To take is to recognize one's entitlement. And to speak it. To know it, intimately.
I'm not where I want to be in so many ways...but I feel strongly...a knowing of sorts...that I am thirsty. And that I don't have to remain that way. There is a gift. Given freely. And perhaps now that I have heard, the next step is to tell another to "Come." There is enough for us all.