Posted by Glenn Packiam on 17 February 2017

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ But you were unwilling…” Isaiah 30:15 (ESV)

We’re not done yet. There is no way to just ‘get filled up’ and then be on our way. Life with God is not a one-stop job. It is a journey, a perpetual turning away from ourselves and the things that we put before God or as God, and a perpetual turning toward God as the only fountain of living water.

Turning away, and turning toward. This is the spiritual life.

Why? Because we are prone to wander. Because old habits die hard. Because it is all too easy to make the mistake the Old Testament Israel made. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God rebukes His people for forsaking the fountain of living water, and for making for themselves cracked and broken wells (Jeremiah 2:13).

What are some of the broken wells we make for ourselves? Our jobs, our relationships, our hobbies, our country—these are all things that may be good vessels but horrible wells. You see, a vessel can carry the water; but a well is the source. When we mistake a container for the source, we begin to go wrong. A friend may carry life to us on a difficult day, a job may bring joy and fulfillment. But none of these things are themselves the source. They are not the well; they are just the vessel. We easily get them confused.

And so the Lord calls to us to keep returning, to keep turning away and turning toward.

When St. Peter stood before the crowds on Solomon’s Portico shortly after the Day of Pentecost, he told them that ‘times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord’ (Acts 3:19-21). But he wasn’t inviting them into an esoteric, private spiritual experience. He was calling them to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, as Messiah. In fact, he began by saying, “Repent”. Turn away. Come back. Change the way you’ve been thinking about life.

And so it is for us. Each day, each moment, the Spirit calls to us. Turn away, turn toward. Stop treating a vessel like a well. And when you return, you will find rest—true rest.

Don’t let this be the end. Let it be the beginning of a new practice, a new rhythm, a new habit—of turning away, and turning toward.

God, the fountain of life, is here.

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