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Drink freely the Life-giving Waters

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, July 13th, 2015

[Drink freely the Life-giving Waters]
Metaphysical Application ideas on the Christian Science Bible Lesson for:
Life

July 13—19, 2015

by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S.
Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett) craig.ghislincs@icloud.com / (630) 830-8683

[Space is available in CedarS upcoming 4th & 5th sessions before school starts for Sunday School students to experience a life-changing week or two at CedarS! Can you encourage any pupil you know to watch our video (#4) & apply or be one of the angels who gives towards camperships and the life-altaring and life-altering experiences they provide at CedarS?]

How often do you think about water? When it’s plentiful, probably hardly at all. But, when it’s scarce, probably quite a bit. Water is an important resource. Every living thing requires water. It nourishes, refreshes, and cleanses. Of course the quality of the water is also an important factor in its usefulness. In order to be drinkable, the water should be free of contaminants. But can the water itself ever really be contaminated?

I had a friend who was healed of drug addiction when he realized, as he was looking into a muddy stream, that even though the water looked dirty, every molecule of water was still pure. The mud appeared to be mixed up with the water, but the water molecules were never less than pure water. He reasoned that even though it may seem that he was stained by drug use, he too, was still, on the basic level, a pure child of God. He said his desire for drugs ended with that realization.

Throughout the Scriptures water symbolizes a number of concepts. Water can symbolize life, purification, cleansing, healing, blessing, sanctification, baptism, illumination, regeneration, new birth, redemption, or salvation. The words of the Golden Text are an invitation to anyone who desires it to partake fully and freely of the waters of Life. Abundantly available to all, there is no restriction as to who may drink, or as to how much they may have. The water of Life is always at hand for each of us to enjoy.

In the Responsive Reading the children of Israel had some challenges in learning this lesson. They had been delivered from the hands of the Egyptians, yet they still had not learned to fully trust God. Having gone three days without finding water they were disgruntled. They found water at Marah, but it wasn’t drinkable. Rather than turning to God, they railed on Moses. Moses however, turned directly to God and the waters were sweetened. Perhaps the bitter waters reflected the bitter attitude of the children of Israel. According to Exodus 15:26, which is not in the Lesson, after sweetening the waters, the Lord established a statute requiring the children of Israel to listen to God, and to be obedient to His Law if they were to avoid the diseases that fell upon the Egyptians for their disobedience. Presumably their harsh attitudes softened some because at their next recorded stop, they found twelve wells of drinkable water, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, along with an added bonus of palm trees providing much needed shade.

The quality of our outlook is an important factor. If we are complaining and whining about our condition, failing to acknowledge the blessings we’ve received, we are less likely to be receptive to the ever-flowing waters of Life. The psalmist has the right idea, fully acknowledging God’s lovingkindness and trusting Him for every need. Such an outlook gives us ready access to the “river of [His] pleasures” and to “the fountain of life.”

Section 1: Recognizing God as the True Source and Only Life
Even though the children of Israel had a record of being cared for by God, they often found themselves in doubt about His care and guidance. Likewise, today, we often feel vulnerable and afraid. If we think we’re here on earth alone, separated from God, created by matter, it’s no wonder we might feel unnerved by the conditions of human experience. The health of the environment seems under constant threat; political and economic stability seem to teeter on the edge of collapse; and every day seems to bring news of potential cataclysmic attacks, from errant asteroids on the largest scale, to pandemic causing viruses on the microscopic level. But think of the difference it would make if you knew that God really was the source of your being, and that God is in fact, your life. Wouldn’t that change your outlook?

In context, Elihu’s declaration to Job (B1) was made to prove Elihu’s standing as worthy of entering the discussion between Job and his friends. He is both acknowledging that he, like Job, is created by God, and that what he has to say isn’t the result of human knowledge but of God–given inspiration. Opening the Lesson with these words establishes that as Christian Scientists, we too, are speaking from the standpoint of spiritual authority. We can intelligently address the concept of God as Life because the Spirit of God has made us, and His breath has given us life. The prophet Isaiah also expresses the fullness and breadth of God’s life-giving power. These impartations don’t come in miserly little spurts. They are poured in, and floods of blessings nourish us as the rain refreshes the grass (B2).

These strong declarations place us on a firm foundation. When we hold confidently to these spiritual facts we are ready to meet whatever comes our way. Rather than being caught on our heels, always reacting to unexpected challenges, we’re on our toes, proactively moving forward, ready and willing to prove our oneness with God. We say with the psalmist, “the Lord is the strength of my life” (B3).

Our textbook takes the same strong stand as the psalmist—categorically stating, “Life and being are of God” (S1). Think of that—our life, isn’t simply from God. God actually is the only Life—our life—yours and mine. The textbook goes on to declare God to be “the only intelligence of the universe” (S2). To some, that might infer that God is aware of everything going on in the material universe, both good and bad. But in Christian Science it means that nothing apart from God is going on at all. He is omnipotent good, and the only things going on are therefore good, and proceed from Him.

Therefore, we don’t need to, nor is it possible to ask God to do anything because He is already doing all, and more than we could possibly imagine. Like those floodtides of living water Isaiah refers to, God is constantly showering us with infinite blessings (S3). Cherishing that unbounded care brings us into a state of receptivity and expectancy. The more we understand that God is Life, the sooner we will apprehend that Life is deathless (S4). Knowing that we are subject only to God’s power, we see that we have nothing to fear. All the testimony of material sense evidence; all the seemingly endless threats, are delusions (S5). That’s a reason to rejoice.

Section 2: Immersed in Safety
What is the safest, most secure condition you can imagine?

The psalmist likens his longing for the presence of God to a hart panting after the water brooks (B4). Initially, this conjures up images of a thirsty beast running toward refreshment. Methodist theologian Adam Clarke (c. 1760-1832) enlarges on this image quoting Eighteenth Century naturalist Tuberville, who reports that when a hart is being pursued, and it is nearly completely exhausted, it fervently seeks a river or brook. Its last refuge is the water, and it swims through the center of the stream being careful not to leave any trace of scent. It may remain almost completely submerged as a last resort. Thus the psalmist is saying that when he is in dire need, he seeks the safety of God. The passages from Isaiah also speak of God’s abundant care for the most needy of His flock (B5). They are picked up, and carried safely to their destination. No matter how extreme the circumstances God is able to reverse the situation. God’s path of safety isn’t hidden or difficult to find. It’s like a highway, straight and clear and open for all to follow (B6). In Acts, Paul makes it clear, that we can never leave that realm of safety and support because we live, move, and have our being in God (B7). This one idea has immense implications. God doesn’t merely come to us when we need Him. We are always in Him. We couldn’t get away from God if we tried.

Science and Health reminds us that we are the very offspring of God (S6). We are as at one with God as a drop of water is with the ocean (S7). Again—we live, move, and have our being in Him. Can anything be closer than that?

Just as the shepherd tirelessly, and unfailingly cares for the flock, so, God sustains man without measure (S8). How could we ever want anything more? Just take some time to contemplate how wonderful this is. We’re always protected, always nourished, always guided by God. The material claims of want, loneliness, danger, disease, sin and so on, are obsolete as we realize we’re enveloped in “the Life divine“ (S9). Rather than being frightened castaways in a desolate world, we see that we have dominion over every condition. We can lack nothing because we have all that God gives. The hart intuitively seeks the safety of the river. Do we seek the support of “the sustaining infinite” with as much fervent desire? If we do, our textbook promises a return of “infinite blessings” (S10).

Section 3: Wash and Be Clean
The story of Naaman (B8) is very familiar to most of us. Clearly this great man, needed to learn humility. As you think about this story take some time to consider the actions of the peripheral characters. The little maid must have been very strong in her faith, and pure of heart to even suggest that her captor might be healed. She could have thought, “This guy deserves everything he gets. How dare he enslave me!” But the purity of her thought found a place of grace and forgiveness that opened the way to healing. Naaman’s wife too, must have had some measure of humility to even listen to a suggestion from a slave. Elisha’s servant had to have some measure of trust in his master’s instructions because it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for such a warrior as Naaman to strike down a messenger if he didn’t like what he was saying. Elisha too, must have been led by God alone, in order to know exactly what was needed to precipitate the healing. The captain’s servants must have loved their master very much as well, to encourage him to follow Elisha’s direction, and the fact that he heeded their suggestion meant that he must have had a good relationship with them. Naaman certainly needed to change his course. He needed to be cleansed, and the fact that he was to dip seven times symbolized he needed a complete transformation.

Each of these characters had a purity of thought that enabled them to forward healing, and Naaman found the humility to be obedient. Truly the pure in heart see God (B9).

Obviously, it wasn’t the water of the Jordan River that healed Naaman. It was the purifying influence of Truth, Life, and Love that transformed him (S11). Everyone involved in this story was obedient to God’s direction. Each of them took some measure of risk in doing so. Even Naaman risked appearing foolish or weak by his obedience. How could he be sure Elisha’s directions would be successful? Obedience to God always blesses us (S12). Many healings have taken place though the purifying effect of spiritual baptism. Not only our bodies, but also our thinking needs cleansing (S13, 14).

Naaman put up a bit of a fight, but yielded quickly. Are we willing to yield up false character traits? We may have the tendency to hold on to them because we think they define us. But the more ready we are to give up errors, the sooner we will see spiritual progress (S15). It shouldn’t be a difficult thing to give up false beliefs. It takes courage and humility, but it is a natural thing to do. Our Leader calls for us to “subordinate the false testimony of the material senses to the facts of Science” (S16). Doing so leads to many blessings, and we will find a freedom that can’t be achieved in any other way.

Section 4: An Unexpected Encounter
In this section, we find another very familiar story—Jesus’ at Jacob’s well [B11 and CC Download 1 in CedarS online Met]. Thirsty and wearied from his journey, Jesus approaches a well and happens upon a Samaritan woman. Curiously, the location of the well, and the woman Jesus finds there, has drawn much interest from commentators. They spend a lot of time discussing whether or not the woman was a prostitute, and why Jesus would choose to spend time revealing himself to her when he bypassed others who seemed more deserving. The fact of her being a Samaritan attracts particular attention. Adam Clarke characterizes the relationship between the Samaritans and the Jews as a “deadly hatred…known to all.”

What can we learn from this exchange? The woman was going to the well as part of her daily routine. Apparently, she discerned Jesus’ nationality, and probably didn’t expect he would even speak to her. He caught her off guard by breaking a social more, and at the outset, the woman thought she held the upper hand. She soon found out that there was more to this stranger than at first appeared. He turned the tables on her, and offered her refreshment far beyond that of water alone. Of this living water Clarke also writes, “As water quenches the thirst, refreshes and invigorates the body, purifies things defiled, and renders the earth fruitful, so it is an apt emblem of the gift of the Holy Ghost, which satisfies the souls that receive it that they thirst no more for earthly good…” This water of life flowed from a never-ending source and had sustaining power. The conversation also uncovered some aspects of her life that needed healing. Rather than objecting to being exposed, she recognized the significance of the opportunity to be speaking with Jesus, and embraced it. She left her mundane chores behind, and sought to tell others of her experience.

This indicates that even if we’re going about our daily business, and even if we aren’t looking for a change at all, the Christ can always find us, and supply us with the life-giving ideas that are exactly what we need. Are we as willing as the Samaritan woman to accept a complete change of course to our day? Would we be willing to drop everything we were doing to follow the Christ idea—to own up to the parts of our life that need changing?

Our textbook keeps the door wide open for all sorts of ways the living waters of Christ can flow into our lives (S18). As some commentators have said of the woman at Jacob’s well, on the surface she seemed like a poor candidate for an encounter with the Christ. Do we ever feel that Love has passed us over as an unworthy candidate? Our Leader reminds us that Love is “impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals” (S19). As noted above, the woman could have just kept going with her day as planned, but she set her plans aside to pursue a more fulfilling opportunity. Are we tempted to feel that there are few and far between who are interested in taking the time out of their busy lives to learn of the life-giving waters of Christ? Here again, Science and Health assures us that there are millions “waiting and watching for rest and drink” (S20).

Whatever the obstacle may be—either a feeling of our own unworthiness, or a preconception that few are interested in taking the time to learn about Christian Science—the healthful waters of life are ever-flowing and able to reach everyone. These rejuvenating waters unfold to us who we really are. They tell us of our true, Christ-like nature. Many people say things like “music is my life” or “my children are my life.” The Christian recognizes that Christ is his life. This indestructible life (S21) is found only as we set our material pursuits aside and allow the Christ to be manifested in our lives.

Section 5: Living Waters
Originally, the phrase “living waters” referred to waters that moved, or came from an active source as opposed to a stagnant pool. Such waters are ever-flowing and do not dry up. These living waters represent the life from God that never ends nor can be interrupted at any time.

In this section Jesus meets a man whose only daughter lies at the point of death [B13 and CC Download 2 in CedarS online Met]. One can easily imagine the depth of concern this man had for his daughter. When news of her death reaches him it seems that all is lost, but Jesus assures him that he need not fear—only believe. When they arrive at his house, onlookers and mourners scoff at Jesus’ seemingly naïve and absurd pronouncement that she is only sleeping. It’s pretty clear that Jesus wasn’t suggesting that they had mistakenly thought she died, but rather, that even if to human sense she had died, Jesus knew that since God is Life, death was out of the question. As James puts it, “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” (B14). The world generally accepts and expects that death is inevitable. Jesus met the belief of death head on, and “put them all out” knowing that God never wills or allows death (B15). John tells us that God sent his son to overcome death and to show us the way to eternal life (B16).

Our Leader took Jesus at his word. If God is Life, it is impossible to conceive that life could be tarnished by sickness, sin, or death (S22). This logic stems from the premise that God is the fount of all good, and therefore, cannot create, condone, or allow anything unlike Him to exist. Any evidence to the contrary is delusion. Mrs. Eddy writes that the understanding that God is the only Life enabled her to heal hopeless disease, and “raise the dying to life” (S23). She goes so far as to call it a sin to believe that anything can overpower eternal life.

Popular thought assumes the inevitability of death, and theology claims that death leads to an afterlife. Here Christian Science maintains its original premise that God is Life, and death can play no role in helping us to understand Life (S24). Mrs. Eddy instructs us to keep the spiritual idea of man uppermost in our thoughts, never conceding to death. Doing so fills our consciousness with the reality of Life (S25). The belief of death is an enemy and must be opposed at every turn. Never consent to it. Reject the belief that life is finite, and replace it with the assurance that Life is God, forever active and eternally unfolding. Closing the door to fear and doubt, and holding firmly to the spirituality of Life replaces mortality and discord with immortality and harmony (S26).

Section 6: Born Again
It’s clear that we can’t find the true sense of Life through a belief in death. So how can we find it? Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be born again—born of water and the Spirit [B17 and CC Download 3 in CedarS online Met]. This is fairly self-explanatory. We can’t continue in our old ways of thinking. We have to see things differently. Being born of water symbolizes a cleansing of worldly thought—a washing away of all the impurities of the flesh. Free from the false conclusions of mortally based thinking, we open the door to spiritual understanding. An entirely new way of thinking reveals the infinite abundance of Life in God (B18). Jeremiah likens this newfound understanding to a tree planted by a river (B19), whose roots are always deep below the surface drawing from an ongoing supply of nourishment regardless of what conditions are above ground.

Being born again—changing our standpoint “from a material to a spiritual basis”—allows us to see Life as it really is. This doesn’t just happen by itself. As the woman at the well left her water pot, we need to let go of all our earthly superstitions and fears. Our Leader says this is a requisite step if we expect to gain a full understanding of Science (S27). We might think that just dropping everything would be a difficult thing to do. And it would be if we didn’t have anything to replace it. But here is where the cleansing power of water comes in. The textbook says the way to get rid of error is to “pour in truth through flood-tides of Love” (S28). Once the spiritual idea of Life begins to dawn on thought, nothing can stop it. You might as well try to stop the sun from rising. Gradually everyone will recognize the true sense of Life, and error will be chased away like darkness by the dawn (S29).

How do we measure our progress? Our Leader suggests we examine our lives and measure ourselves by how close we are to God, and by how much healing power we’re demonstrating (S30). The proof of what we know is in demonstration. Let’s resolve to set all material thinking aside, and seek those living waters. Let’s let them wash us clean, and fill us with everything healthful and holy. Then let’s put our theory to practice, and show the world the healing power of knowing God is our Life.


[Bracketed italics in each CedarS Met are added by CedarS Director and Met "Founder"/Editor, Warren Huff, who’s forever grateful for all the good already received and LETTING 3 ONGOING NEEDS BE KNOWN –
Significant funding is still needed for these special opportunities:
1. It is apparent that getting many to camp will depend on "Love's Provision" of campership assistance.
There are still several bunks available in CedarS upcoming 4th and 5th sessions before school starts for Sunday School students to experience a life-changing week or two at CedarS! Could you be one of the angels who gives towards camperships and the life-altaring and life-altering experiences they provide at CedarS?]

2. Over 100 needed items are featured on CedarS Giving Tree that could fit the budget of every grateful Met-recipient and camper. You can choose for yourself $1-and-up ways to give to support CedarS needs. Click here to see 2 young alumni tell their reasons to give.

3. Adopt the Herd” Matching Opportunity! Generous donors, aware of the ongoing need to care for CedarS herd, will match donations for our horse program! (~$15k needed to reach $50k goal)]

[The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support. Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/ for more about how you can provide even monthly support online. Or you can always call the Huffs at 636-394-6162 to get information or discuss privately how to transfer securities or other assets to help support and perpetuate CedarS work.]

[You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by
PHONE at 636-394-6162
or MAIL your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization
(Our not-for-profit, Federal Identification Number is #440-66-3883):

The CedarS Camps, Inc.
1314 Parkview Valley Drive
Ballwin, MO 63011

THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS FOR YOUR ONGOING, GENEROUS and NEEDED SUPPORT OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!

[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/ ]

[For additional "Director's Notes" on the history, development & 4 translations of CedarS weekly Bible Lesson "Mets" go to Notes in our online version of it.]

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