words for lent: thirst, and when words fail

I meant to write something grand this week, something about Exodus 17 and John 4, the stories of water from wells and rocks (the readings for this week).  I would have quoted Schmemann about how we are hungry and thirsty beings, how our hunger and thirst is for God, but also how real water and bread are good and how “we’re not platonists, Laurie” as pastor Giorgio once said to me when I tried to be nonchalant about losing the greatest pair of sunglasses of my life.

There’s still time to write, on a Saturday that’s too windy to be outside (we live in a place where many days wind is the primary weather function by which a day’s activities stand or fall– John wants to work on the cars, but it’s just not feasible in 40 mile and hour wind, our usual frisbee game of course is not possible, etc.), still time to say something wonderful about the thirst of the Israelites, the thirst of the lady by the well or the chapter or two before where the empty jars are filled and turned into what must have been the best ever wine tasted in this old world.

Yes, I would have quoted Schmemann and Over the Rhine, the beautiful song with the cello and piano, and the slow words: “You’re my water, you’re my wine, you’re my whiskey from time to time……”  Or the other song about how “those that burn with thirst will lift their glass” and the lilt of her voice and how I sobbed from Nashville to the North Carolina border listening to that album for the first time just before the start of my third year of college.

It might have been very good.

God, please be our water and our wine.  Please let us hold our deepest hungers and thirsts before you, and please fill us, these empty jars, with wine.  amen.


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