Technically it’s a retention pond, I know, the kind that developers are required to put in place to offset the loss of land that they use to build homes or hard surfaces on. For without such mitigation efforts, stormwater has no place to run off. And that, in turn, can cause erosion, transfer pollutants and chemicals into nearby water bodies, and most significantly, produce flooding, an ever- present possibility in an area that is known for having three five hundred-year floods in three years.
Beyond just their utilitarian value, however, those ponds are also beautifully landscaped (if plainly little) lakes which not only offer an aesthetic appeal but actually increase biodiversity and even provide habitats for all kinds of animals and organisms, including alligators. What I discovered while we were walking early this morning, however, is that there’s an obvious difference in what those ponds look like when the aerator fountains are turned on and when they are not.
When running, for instance, the fountains in the middle produce actual waves in the water, shooting as high as forty feet with a flow rate of almost 100 gallons per minute. But before the fountains turn on what you may see instead is simply a murky mess, looking for all the world like just a low spot in the land after a thunderstorm.
All of which is simply the difference between still water and what the Bible frequently refers to as “living water.” For living water not only is flowing and moving, but it’s also the source of life. Jeremiah describes God, for instance, as “the spring of living water” (Jeremiah 2.13 and 17.13) and Zechariah even prophesies that one day those waters will flow from the Temple in Jerusalem all the way to the Dead Sea, bringing new life to that lake which now has none.
Likewise, Jesus once told a Samaritan woman whom he encountered at Jacob’s Well in Sychar that He could give her “living water” and she would never thirst again. (John 4.10) Or in short, what makes water living is that it brings life to others. And in a similar way we are called to be dispensers of that same wonderful drink to those all around us. But to do so, we need not just a “spring” in our step but a willingness as well to let God’s love overflow through us to others.
If you’ve been stuck in nothing more than a puddle of late, perhaps it’s time thus to ask Jesus to bring His living water into your life too. For as I once heard some sweet Jamaican children sing, “Jesus’ love is a bubblin’ over.”