I grew up in northern Indiana, and if you are unfamiliar with that area of the United States, that means there are lakes, lakes, lakes. From my father’s house you can see a lake from the kitchen and one from the living room and we are not even considered a lake front house. Our weekends and summers were spent on the lake, and when I first left Indiana I could not believe that people did not live three feet from a water source. How could anyone spend their summers not swimming or fishing or boating? These are all skills I’m pretty sure that every Hoosier (someone from Indiana) child learns from birth.

Because of where I grew up, I learned to love the water. I love everything about water. I love the calming sound of flowing water and dipping my feet into a running brook on a hot day. I love watching the waves crash against the shore and digging through the shells that the water brings in. I love the power of water to create energy and smooth rocks and grow new life. While there are dangers associated with water, we wouldn’t be on this earth long without it. It cleanses, restores and refreshes. 

Spring cleaning is generally a phrase we use to tackle a big cleaning or organizing project, but really spring cleaning, in North America, is about opening up the house from winter and preparing for the warmer months. Before central heat and air conditioning, people shut up their homes to protect against the cold winter wind. Dust and dirt would then build up as well as mold and just an overall unpleasant smell. When the warmer weather came around, typically in March, people began to open their homes again to sweep out the dust and bring in fresh air. March was the month used for spring-cleaning because it was warmer than the winter, but it had less of a bug infestation then the later spring months. This was a great time to clean out the dust and dirt from winter and refresh the home for the coming warmer months.

Just as homes need refreshing after long winters, our souls need refreshing as well. As a nerd, I watch a lot of shows that people have never heard of, or do not really understand. I watch many of my shows in Japanese because I find them fascinating and I love listening to the language, but this particular show was about looking at the power of people’s souls. One of the characters starts off as an antagonist in the storyline because he is being manipulated by his evil mother. She kept him isolated, away from everyone. She never showed him love or affection; she never really touched him and when she was angry with him, she locked him alone in a closet. He grew into a strong warrior out of his need to survive, but when they show his soul, he is sitting alone in a desert. He feels so alone in the desert and he feels as though he will never escape. The protagonist of the show is a girl who ends up fighting this boy. As their fights continue on, she realizes that she cannot beat him by ordinary power, but when she does beat him, she is able to glimpse into his soul and sees the desert. She befriends the boy and shows him kindness for the first time to the boy. In his soul, he tries to keep the girl’s kindness away from him, but she prevails and hugs him. When she does this, all of this water begins to rush into the boy’s soul and his desert becomes an oasis. The water washed out the desert and brought life to the boy’s soul and changed him and refreshed him.

When I watched this episode, I was reminded of Jesus in the book of John. In John 4, Jesus meets with a Samaritan woman at a well and he asks her for a drink of water. In that day and age, Jewish men did not speak to women that they did not know, and they especially did not speak to non-Jewish women. Yet, Jesus asked her to give him some water. She questioned him as to why he would speak to her, and they engaged in a very unusual conversation between a Jewish man and a non-Jewish woman. Jesus told her that he would give her living water to drink. She asked where he could find this kind of water and “Jesus answered, ‘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”’ (John 4:14).

Jesus gives the living water, the water to save us, but also the water to refresh us. The water does not stop with salvation, but continues to flow in our lives when we need refreshing. Life is difficult and challenging. We are going to have moments when we are walking through the desert and our souls are going to feel dry and gritty, but this living water from God can refresh us again. God’s water flows over us and creates an oasis to our desert. Yet, we don’t need to find this refreshing alone. We also can find God’s refreshing for our souls when we engage with others around us. We are people created for community with others, and we need to involve others in our lives so that we can bring refreshing to each other. Find that fellow woman who brings encouragement or joy to your soul and make time to be refreshed in their presence and conversation. Also, go out and be that refreshing for another woman who seems to be alone or struggling. We can lift each other up and find that refreshing and spring cleaning that our souls need after long winters or times in the desert.

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