formation friday: thirsty

kathyescobar advent & lent, formation friday, healing, jesus is cool, spiritual formation, the refuge 15 Comments

thirst ash wednesday light

“but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – Jesus to the samaritan woman in john 4:14

it’s a little hard to believe that christmas came & went and now we are diving into the season of lent. i know some of you love this season in the church calendar and some of you can’t stand it.  i am one of those people who like it.  the part i appreciate the most about it is the intention. i like ways to help me remember God, connect with my humanity, and soften my so-easy-to-become-hardened heart.

one of our refuge traditions is that we host a sacred & contemplative space on ash wednesday to begin the 40 days toward easter.  the theme of this year’s gathering was “thirst.” i can’t re-create the stations or the moment, but i thought i’d share one of the reflections here for formation friday because it was such a great way to start the season.

i do not drink enough water every day.  coffee, no problem, i never lack for that. a diet coke, oh how i crave one sometimes. but water, the thing i most need to make my body work properly, that is the thing that seems the hardest to do.

it really is how i often live so much of my life: the thing i need most is the thing i seek after the least. 

it bugs me, really, my natural bent toward not-doing-what’s-really-good-for-me.

this lent, i am thirsty.  not for diet coke and coffee.  i’ve got enough of that in my life.

what i need more of is living water, the kind only God seems to be able to provide. the holy spirit working and breathing new life and redeeming and restoring and healing and strengthening and transforming and encouraging and making-me-new-and-then-new-again. 

the kind of water that satisfies the deep places of my heart and soul and reminds me that i’m loved.  that i’m enough. that i’m human. that i’m not alone. that life is greater than death. that good is greater than evil.

that God is always near, pouring goodness & truth & peace & love & hope into this flawed & broken pot.

and there’s always more.

if i will just go to the well and drink.  

on my israel & palestine trip, i went to jacob’s well, the place where Jesus met the samaritan woman at the well in john 4. it’s one of my favorite stories and it’s almost 100% that the well we stood at was the exact place where Jesus met her (you can’t fake a water source). my mom and i both drank the water from that well.  and i’ve got to tell you, it tasted good.  like really good.

it made me want to drink more.

i’m entering into this lenten season thirsty.

how about you?

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this is one of the thirst stations we did at our ash wednesday services (my friend jenny creates the most beautiful things!) here are the scriptures & questions:

my inner self thirsts for God, for the living God. when shall I come and behold the face of God? when can I go and meet with God? psalm 42:2, amplified & NIV

you, God, are my God, earnestly i seek you; i thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. psalm 63:1-3, NIV

part 1 – acknowledge one thing you are thirsting for; one place where your soul feels dry, that you can continue to reflect on during this season. write it down on a stone and place it in the fountain, asking God to bring water to it.



part 2 – the candle on the center table is a symbol of Christ, who gives us light, to be able to face reality, and gaze more deeply into the loving face of God. take a taper and light it from the center candle, then place it in the sand container.


you are not alone in this wilderness journey.

(that was one of my favorite parts, all those candles lit.  it’s comforting to know i’m not the only thirsty one.) 

we did a few other things in the midst of music & scriptures & prayers and all left with a water bottle to use for the next 40 days to remember that we don’t have to go thirsty.


this was our closing prayer:

[quote]let this water be a symbol, not just of life, but of transformation.

in every way that water refreshes, rehydrates, cleanses and renews–

remind us of you, God, as our source.

Living Water, flow into our parched souls.

in your name, Jesus, amen.[/quote]

peace and hope and living water to you this lent. love, kathy

* * * * *

ps:  if you want to get some really great lent resources, check out christine sine’s blog. always such lovely stuff!  next week i’m going to share more about her new book, return to our senses: reimagining how we pray.

also, if you are new to this blog, here’s a list of other formation friday posts