When Culverts Buckle


As the spring thaw begins on the Canadian prairies, the still frozen ground merely acts as a platform over which the water flows, unable to absorb much of the moisture yet.


Enter a spring storm, bringing 3 inches of rain and sleet.


Water flowed in a big way through creeks and ditches until they couldn’t contain it all, extending beyond their banks. Roads washed away, yards and homes invaded by the water’s reach. Calls for pumps and sandbags went out.


What came as a shock was the failure of the dike, which protects one side of the city, as the culverts buckled under the massive pressure of all the flowing water, threatening evacuation of a residential side of the city.


Searching for a solution, the city had an urgent help. Tractors, pumps and equipment were needed to mitigate the heavy flow, now stalled and backing up from the collapse. Like pouring through a funnel, you need to go slower to allow for the narrow end, but unlike pouring, we don’t control the heavy water runoff.


Many volunteer crews worked overnight to keep the tractors running and moving the pumps to keep the water flowing over the road, to preserve the homes on the other side of the dike.


I’m reminded how floodwaters damage and destroy, while living water nourishes, blesses, and provides.


Whether you’re at the beach on a hot summer day, working on a project beneath the blazing sun, or dripping sweat, breathing fast while playing sports, you know what it’s like to feel thirsty. You raise your water bottle to your lips and guzzle it down; it wets your mouth, and you feel relief, then a readiness to press on with what you’re doing.


To a woman hauling water from a well, Jesus declares he is Living Water (John 4) and those who drink from him will be satisfied; their thirst will be quenched.


Can we think about that for a second? What it’s like to be wholly satisfied in Christ?


Our daily lives can be exhausting and weary, like dripping sweat in the heat of the day. There are endless tasks to accomplish, people to shepherd, and needs to be met. But without water, dehydration eventually sets in, so too, we become spiritually dehydrated if we persevere through life without abiding in Christ.


For when we come before him with our needs, our trust and our heart, he is faithful to draw near to us, because he promises to “satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish” (Jer 31:25). In Christ we find the peace we are looking for because he is peace. We are strengthened because he is strong. We’re given life because he is life.


He gives an invitation before a muttering, divided crowd, imploring them to draw near and seek him - the Way, the Truth and the Life. He calls out, “if anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). It means letting go of our self-reliance and independence, of our selfish goals and ambitions and grasp hold of humility to turn our wayward heart in repentance.


Will you come?


For he not only invites us, but provides for us; that because of taking in the Living Water, “whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38). We travel back to the Old Testament in Ezekiel 47 where he describes a river flowing from the temple in God’s kingdom, a river progressively deepening, filled with fish, whose banks are lined with trees bearing fruit.

This river carries abundant life.


By the grace of God, we are given abundant life through Christ and hasn’t left us alone but given us a helper. The ongoing empowerment and direction of the Spirit, who marks us as his own and carries on the work of sanctification within us until his return. So, day by day we need grace to abide, to keep in step with the work of the Spirit in us that we may glorify our Savior in all we do for the good of those around us.


You are purposed by the Lord for this moment in time, whether it’s full of hardship or delight. Even as I try to rest and nurse my sprained ankle back to health, and to get my feet back under me from a season of burnout, there’s a deep abiding that takes place as I learn dependence on Christ and turn from the trust in my own skills and abilities.


It’s a hard place to be sure and real growth doesn’t take place overnight. Yet, drinking from the Living Water carries with a promise of hope that he will satisfy us and carry us through until eternity by the help of the Holy Spirit to lead, correct and guide us by the authority of the Word.


May our prayer be, “satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Ps 90:14).

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