Water of Life allows us to let go

... whosoever drinketh of the water that I [Jesus] shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (St. John 4:14).

We planted her in the yard, the miniature Christmas tree from a time past, when grandchildren joined us in our faraway desert home for the holidays.

Her growth was sporadic, between scorching rays of hot July and August sun and the inclemency of January winds and icy temperatures.

Nevertheless, we did our best to nurture her, and she managed to survive - that is, until many months of long work hours drove my husband and I bone weary to our bed at night, having barely nourished ourselves, and sadly, the little evergreen suffered our inadvertent neglect.

Dried up brown needles took up more than half of her once perky countenance, while the remainder of scrawny branches struggled against her imminent demise.

Upon such woeful discovery, I made a valiant attempt to save her. I deepened the shallow well that had surrounded the base of her trunk, carefully so as not to disturb her roots, and offered her a long and patiently-awaited watering. The poor thing was thirsty as could be, and as she graciously drank, I burrowed the hose deep into the newly moistened soil to provide further life-giving sustenance.

Remembering a friend's counsel about the acidity of dead pine needles and that such trees needed to be cleansed of debris in order to thrive, I set about the task of gently tugging away at the destructive remains. Much to my surprise, however, I found that she wouldn't let go! I could hardly coerce a single brittle needle from her half-dead branches.

Rather dumbfounded, I said goodnight and left her to enjoy the rest of her drink in the peacefulness of the setting sun.

I repeated my efforts the next night, and the next, and soon enough this precious little evergreen seemed ready to trust the release of a few of her dead needles. With each watering she gradually became willing to let go of more and more of the debris that would have led to her self-destruction, had she insisted upon clinging to its corrosiveness.

Now she stands healthy and green - a little naked-looking from the inside out, but evergreen and growing.

Isn't that what we become once we receive the life-giving sustenance of Jesus Christ? We arrive at the doorstep of His heart all dried up and half dead inside. Although He begins to nourish our souls, we're not yet certain about the source of this nurture, or if it will continue, so we desperately cling to our old self-destructive character traits and habits, some of which may actually have once contributed to our survival.

I remember having been told, for example, that it was healthy of me as a child to act out angrily in the face of an abusive alcoholic upbringing.

But I clung to that anger throughout my adolescence and young adulthood until it no longer lent to my survival, but instead to the demise of my very soul.

As we learn and grow in Christ, we begin to trust enough to release little pieces of our old selves until, no longer ashamed of transparency, we let Jesus purge us from the inside out while He continues to lavish upon us living water from His spring of eternal life.

If we are to stand proud, evergreen and growing, we must let Him continue to water us; we must be willing to let go and let God....

You can email Ms. Wilson by visiting www.pensepublishing.com.