The Eye and the Spring
For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land.
Song of Solomon 2:11-12
My mind opens before my eyes most mornings. Sometimes a dream fades in my shift from sleep to daytime clarity. A downy quilt snuggles me as I review a mental checklist for the day. That review motivates a reluctant retreat as my feet shift to cold bathroom tile.
Space heater on, check. Warm layers and socks, check. Sunscreen and just enough foundation to appear at the YMCA without scaring anyone, check. Then off to my coffee pot and time with the Lord.
Fresh might not be the word, but my mind and heart are least uncluttered at this time. No one else is around. I can focus on Him. Settling in for a conversation with the Lord, I remember a Scripture in Habakkuk.
I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart. I will keep watch to se what He will speak to me. (NAS)
The One I can’t see asks me to see. So, on purpose, I start my climb.
It takes some effort as I scramble from surface distractions to a higher place. There I’m positioned to see all around me. Not just any high place, I’m perched on a fortified wall. It’s His protective barrier around my city, my life.
I have lots of loved ones in that city. Some are family, some are friends, some are people I met in random places and made a heart note to pray for them. Some are fellow bloggers!
How am I doing on my perch? Am I seeing yet? What’s the fresh vision today and how do I write it? I send out feelers. I start flapping my wings until I get that soar going. I know a wind current is there. I just have to press a little to find it.
This morning I found an obscure study about a family within the tribe of Levi. They were Gershonites. Their job was to take care of the coverings and curtains of the Tabernacle.
When the tabernacle was first built, it was portable. It could be taken down or put up depending on when the cloud of His glory directed His people forward. It was the original mobile home. This one housed the presence of God.
It didn’t seem very exciting to move curtains and coverings, other than knowing part of Him lingered in that fabric as they took it up, then unfurled it at the next destination. It was hard work, even for a place that housed God Himself.
I’ve felt like a Gershonite. My husband and I love people. We especially like seeing God touch their lives on a regular basis. More than a visit, we love being a part of lives God is invited to inhabit.
People need time together, they need to eat. That means a certain amount putting together and taking down. We’re talking labor. Most of the time I remember how that work relates to His service. Sometimes the connection is blurred. Like when I’m tired, or extra busy, or perish the thought, crabby.
Before King David brought the tabernacle to a permanent home, it traveled. Why? Because His people traveled. They moved out of Egypt, slavery, and through the wilderness. There was lots of putting up and taking down. Here was God’s promise:
The Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your soul in drought and make your bones fat. You will be like a watered garden, whose waters do not fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
God’s promise was for those who lived in a desert land. Drought, blowing sand, and heat were all around them. Despite their environment, the presence of God living, not visiting, made all the difference. His people looked like an oasis fed by a bottomless spring.
We used to fish in spring-fed rivers in Missouri. They were a small paradise, despite determined anglers, elbow to elbow on hot summer days. After all, where else could we find trout in Missouri on hot, muggy, summer days? But there they were, fresh, fun to catch, and thriving in the ice-cold water that flowed from a spring a mile up the road.
Lots of life gathered around a spring in the desert. There were shade trees, water for livestock, birds singing, and people enjoying meals together. The spring represented God’s refuge, His provision, and His refreshing even when all was barrenness around it. Those waters flowed despite drought because their source extended deep into hidden aquifers.
Back to the Gershonites. When the wilderness season was over, the Gershonites inherited a city named Anem. Anem may have been a plural form of the word, springs. But Anem was also the Hebrew word for “eye.” In Hebrew, the eye was more than the physical organ. It represented the whole process of seeing, of understanding and of obedience.
God speaks all around me. Do I see the spring of life hidden nearby? If all was desert around me, I’d want more than a mirage. I’d want the real thing. The untapped springs exist, just like those wind currents. But if I don’t see them, I can’t receive the life and cleansing they offer.
For years I had a film over my eyes. It was the filter of a victim spirit. Rooted in poverty and lack, it was a mindset that invited passivity. Perhaps if I didn’t move forward, I wouldn’t be disappointed. Not so much.
Disappointment lurked in perpetual slime just under the surface of my expectations. I shoved it down, but it kept popping up. Its slime didn’t mix with water of the springs of life inside me. No wonder the spring kept trying to spit it out. It didn’t belong there.
The Bible talks about a heart/eye connection. We pass up freedom when we don’t see God’s hidden work via spring of life inside us. I had to learn to cooperate. Instead of whining the victim’s “Argghh! Poor me! ” I was happy the filth didn’t belong to me. It made its appearance so I could toss it out of the tabernacle. Just a little morning housekeeping.
That spring on the inside of me is big and deep. It reaches into the limitless provision of God. It is His kingdom come, His will being done, on earth as it is in heaven right in my city – the one surrounded by those castle walls. I am a mobile home tabernacle.
His life inside me isn’t limited by my circumstances. It washes away debris. Even rocks float to its surface in its anointing. I pick them up and hurl them over the rampart. They are well-aimed throws, for they nail my enemy on the way down.
That’s my morning visual. I’m writing what I see. It points me forward and never lies. If it seems slow in coming, I’ll wait. It’s on its way. It comes right on time. It cleanses me and protects my city. Not bad for a city girl learning to flap her wings.