I’m not a big fan of finding hidden Christian themes in every film or novel that makes its way into the public consciousness, but this time even I couldn’t miss the obvious. In the July 2015 issue of CityArts, a magazine which I occasionally read because it’s my favorite type of magazine, i.e. free, the Editor in Chief writes a note that positively drips with a subterranean and likely unintentional Christian motif.
Leah Baltus starts out by saying “A couple of weeks ago it occurred to me that water was everywhere in this issue,” and then lists the articles that were somehow related to water. She goes on to say
Maybe we’re all looking to get clean, to submerge ourselves and shut out the deafening whir of demand and distraction that so often consumes our lives. In an era when time moves impossibly fast and our culture sustains a constant fever pitch, maybe we’re parched from so much running around and screaming. I need a drink.
Today’s average pedestrian wanders in a concrete quagmire of conflicting “truths”; they’re “spiritual but not religious” – we do indeed need a drink. People are looking for something, anything, to sate their thirst for meaning and purpose and escape from a world too enamored with itself to stop and rest, but yet they can’t quite put their finger on where that drink might be found. As Christians, we know the answer:
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:7-14 ESV
Jesus is the water for which the world thirsts. It is through Him that our parched lips and soul are quenched. Leah’s search to get clean is answered in Christ. She says that “Water is powerful, necessary, dangerous.” Amen. In the waters of Baptism God’s powerful Word exorcises demons and forgives sins—we are made clean and become children of God.
In her concluding paragraph, the Editor offers us a naturalistic viewpoint framed in the context of an article on Seattle’s Duwamish River:
In conjuring the river’s indigenous past, illuminating its current condition and imagining its future, the Duwamish Revealed project is nothing short of philosophical. It not only reminds us that the river is here in our midst; it recalls the continuity of time, of water flowing from mountains to sea for centuries. It provides an opportunity for the petty noise of modern life to recede against a backdrop of eternity.
In a sense, Baltus is on to something. Her references to the deafening whir, screaming, and petty noise recall the demon Screwtape and one of his letters to his underling nephew Wormwood in C. S. Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters:
Music and silence—how I detest them both! How thankful we should be that ever since Our Father [the devil] entered Hell—though longer ago than humans, reckoning in light years, could express—no square inch of infernal space and no moment of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all has been occupied by Noise—Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile—Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples, and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. (Ulrichsville, OH: Barbour and Company, 1990) 113-14.
However, hers is a philosophy in search of bedrock. The river not only has an indigenous past, it has a Creator who formed the foundations of the earth. His Name is Jesus Christ. In Him all things are held together, and He is the backdrop and the forefront of eternity. It is in Him that our sin is forgiven, our thirst is quelled, our future is made certain, and our Sabbath rest is found.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. …The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:1-2, 17 ESV