Have you ever watched a small child try to build a castle out of dry sand? She painstakingly fills her pail with scoop after scoop of powdery white sand. With all her might, she lifts the heavy pail and quickly dumps it over. You cringe a bit, knowing what’s about to happen. With hope in her eyes, she lifts up the pail to reveal her creation. Tears of frustration flow as the sand collapses around her and the castle is leveled to the ground.
She doesn’t understand what went wrong. You know the secret and you want to rush over and tell her. She needs to add water! Wet sand is sturdy and strong. It will hold her castle together so it can stand tall. Without water, she’ll never succeed.
The dry sand in this story depicts a life lived apart from God. Dry, dusty, with no strong surface to gain a foothold through the trials of life. This kind of barren life is one we fall into because we choose to distance ourselves from God. It’s not something God “does” to us or wants for us. In fact, quite the opposite. In Isaiah 44:3, God promises: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.” Jesus repeats this promise to the worshipers in the temple in John 7:37-38: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”
If we’re thirsty, it’s not because of an absence of water, it’s because we choose not to drink. Or maybe someone needs to help us find the water source.
Jesus describes the gift of the Holy Spirit as water because of its life giving properties. It sustains us, nourishes us, helps us to grow. It washes us clean and makes us new. God provided a limitless ocean for this little girl who longed to build a sturdy sand castle. It was right there for the taking. In the same way, all we need to do is receive the incredible gift of God’s grace.
The next time you feel like things are collapsing in around you, remember the strength that can be found in the “Living Water” of the Holy Spirit. It is the secret to a life filled with deep meaning and abundant blessings.
And it’s right there for the taking.