One solitary drop of water landed on an outstretched tongue. Until that very moment, the soul was unaware of its thirst. Now its open mouth reached heavenward in great expectation.
How long since I last drank?
With eyes and awareness now heightened, the soul saw nothing but desert stretched out ahead. No life apparent here, only bones…eerie predictors of the soul’s own fate.
How did I come to this dry and desolate place?
When the soul began its journey it had waded waist-deep in the stream of living water, drinking deeply and frequently. Memory supplied the missing snapshots.
“Do you know much about this water?” the confident fellow on the shore had inquired. “Do you know where it comes from, what it is made of, what lives in it, where it will end?”
No. I haven’t thought about those things. I’m just enjoying the water.
“A common mistake,” the fellow had laughed, “and a sure sign of immaturity, as well. You need to walk out here until you know more about it.”
I’m getting very thirsty. I think I’ll go back in the water.
“That would be a big mistake. What you need is food. Here, eat this steak. Then we will have some bread.”
The bread and steak are wonderful, but I’m so thirsty. I really need some water.
“Only the weak return to the water. See how foolish the others look, splashing and frolicking like children?”
I wish I was in the water with them.
“You don’t know what you’re missing. Mature souls crave food. Follow me.”
Long rows of tables stretched across a dining hall. Heads bowed over heaping plates. The diners ate in silence except for the chewing and smacking sounds that occasionally escaped their lips. The soul felt thin and frail compared to the overall plumpness of this group. They motioned toward a chair at one of the tables spread with an amazing array of various foods.
Oh! Thank you! The food looks delicious, but could I please have a drink of water?
At this the other diners stopped, mid-bite, and stared. The meaning behind their blank expressions could not be discerned, but the soul flashed its best smile, grabbed a fork, and began to eat, instructing itself not to ask the same question again.
Life centered on the preparation, presentation, and consumption of extravagant meals. Little else mattered. As promised, knowledge about water was gained, and the soul became convinced that the knowledge was a logical, if not wholly satisfying, substitute for the real thing. The soul found itself gaining poundage and looking very much like the other diners. It felt smug and superior when the occasional frail soul wandered in.
But over time the number of diners had dwindled. Those who ventured outside the dining hall rarely returned. One day the soul left the dining hall, promising to return with young souls that needed filling.
Now, one drop of water had rekindled the soul’s desire, yet all that could be seen for miles around were dry, dead bones.
How could I have forgotten how much I need the water?
With thirst renewed, the soul fell to its knees in the scorching sand. A prayer emanated from its parched lips.
Jesus, I have wandered far from You, the Living Water. Foolishly I denied the thirst you created within me. I am fat, but empty; full, but very, very thirsty. I have lost my way. Help me return to the stream and drink deeply of You.
The sky opened, raining on the grateful soul. The soul drank. It laughed, and sang and danced. Turning around, the soul could now see the path it had taken…the path that had led it far from the life-giving stream. Now it returned, running back along the same path, filled with new purpose and anticipation.
As the exultant soul ran past the dining hall a few diners pressed their noses to the windows and watched, uncomprehending. Then, shaking their heads and clucking their tongues, they returned to their tables and prepared for yet another meal without anything to drink.
If you found yourself identifying with the soul in this allegory, I pray that you have already found your way back to the Living Water. If not, perhaps this allegory has renewed your thirst.
Sara is hosting Fiction Friday this week on her blog, Fiction Fusion. Please stop by and follow the links to more great fiction.