Are you staying hydrated?
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I thirst for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?” ~ Psalm 42:1-2
It was an odd conversation, for someone on a silent retreat. I’d arrived at Holy Cross Abbey for a two-night retreat. I’d passed the Shenandoah River on my way, and after getting settled in, I decided to walk to the river before vespers.
The car had passed me as I walked, and I waved. It must have turned around because a few minutes later, it pulled up beside me and stopped. The driver rolled down her window and said, “We are lost. We read that there is a waterfall somewhere near the Cold Springs Battlefield, and we think we’ve made a wrong turn,” she said. “Can you tell us how to get to Cool Springs Battlefield?”
Silent Retreats don’t eliminate the call to assist strangers. “I don’t have a clue,” I replied. “I’m not exactly sure where I am, either. I’m not from around here, just walking until I get to the river.”
“Are you lost too?” She asked.
“No. I’m staying at the Abbey, and just out for a walk,” I said.
Then her companion leaned across the front seat and asked, “Are you staying hydrated?” It was a kind question. In truth, I was hot. It was a hot Memorial Day afternoon, and I didn’t have any water with me. “I’m fine,” I said, but thanks for asking.
I wished them luck. They thanked me for trying to help, and drove away. I was thirsty, and wondered if they’d have offered me a bottle of water if I’d said so.
The question, “Are you staying hydrated,” stuck with me. My body was hydrated, but my soul has been feeling pretty dry. The past two years, with a pandemic, terrifying and disrupting events in our world and nation, and the deaths of both my sisters have taken a toll.
Jesus said to the woman at the well who was also out in the heat of the day, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
I’ve slowed myself down enough to take a drink. The water is always here, sometimes I simply forget to stay hydrated.
Thanks for two strangers who helped me find my way back to the spring within. ~ Anne