Some days are etched in your memory for ever. This one, a blisteringly hot summer’s day in the 1980s, will always be part of my ‘favourite moments.’ I was on holiday in France, enjoying the sunshine and scenery of Provence, and we arrived at Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, a tiny village nestled in a valley. This was in the days before air conditioning in cars and the journey there left us feeling jaded and almost too hot! My Dad, armed with his green Michelin guide, was confident this was a place of exceptional beauty: he was definitely not wrong.
The reason for the tiny village’s popularity was the spring flowing out of the 230 metre high cliff, a source of water which ultimately provides 360 million cubic metres of water every year. The spring poured into the river to create a beautiful shady pool under immense plane trees. The icy water provided relief from the sun’s heat as we walked down to the paper mill, trailing our fingers in the river as we meandered along. It was an idyllic scene, an oasis of calm and beauty.
This combination of powerful water and the cool, calm river reminds me of Jesus’ words in John 7 about the living water that can flow from within each one of us, a source of life to all. Refreshing, life-giving water, quenching thirst, cooling and sustaining all who experience it.
The paper mill showed us how to harness the power from the water to create paper. In the same way, God’s Spirit, flowing through us, will also be creative. God, the Maker of heaven and earth, is always doing new things and often chooses to work through His people.
In the darkness of winter, it’s good to remember those halcyon days of summer and reflect on the power of water to cleanse, refresh, re-energise and renew.