Priming the Pump

PRIMING THE PUMP

READ:  Ecclesiasticus 24

“And like a stream from a river, like a watercourse flowing into a garden, I intend to water my orchard, I intend to irrigate my garden, and behold, my stream has grown into a river, and my river has grown into a sea.” – Ecclesiasticus 24:30-31

With that quote from the Psalter, the brothers and novices of Greyfriars’ Abbey were sent out early this morning to set up the sprinklers for the orchard and to water the recently planted seeds in the vegetable and flower gardens.  As I began watering the garden, the first water I poured quickly disappeared, swallowed by the very thirsty earth.  But then the second water began creating small puddles.  Then the puddles became pools and the pools became trickling streams and eventually the streams began to flow toward the nearby creek.  And all along its course, that water nourished the first greening of Spring.

“And like a stream from a river, like a watercourse flowing into a garden, I intend to water my orchard, I intend to irrigate my garden, and behold, my stream has grown into a river, and my river has grown into a sea.”
flowofgrace
Near the barn for the livestock, there is an old, water pump, once painted green, aged with the “patina” of rust.  It is still used, primarily to bring water to the sheep.  Beside the pump sets a rather beat-up, dented metal bucket.  And that bucket is always to be filled with water.  Why is that bucket of water kept by that pump?  Because that old pump is the kind that you have to “prime” to get the water from the well flowing.  You pour that water into an opening on the pump, then grab the handle and get to working.  First you pump up a few gasps of air, and then comes a sputter or two, but, in time, the water begins to flow.  But you have to remember to first refill that bucket with water for the next time to need water from the well.

The life of the Christian discipleship might be thought of as the “watering” of the earth with the river of Divine grace by way of that old pump.  Our disciplined and devoted time spent being Quiet with the Lord is our way of filling the water bucket needed to prime the pump.   We lift to God our praise and thanksgiving –  priming the pump, you might say – to get the grace the flowing.  Oh, at first, it might feel like spits and sputters of holy grace, but once the water begins to flow, we not only quench our own soul’s thirst, but also remember refill that pitcher, refill to overflowing, so much so that puddles of grace begin to fall on the earth, and the puddles become pools, and the pools become streams, and the streams become rivers and the rivers make their return to the Sea.  And all along the way, that divine love, that cool water of grace, nourishes the first greening of the Kingdom of God.

When we bring the grace of God into the lives of others, we are priming the pump of their souls.  By pouring our love, the love we have first received from the Lord, we begin to draw forth from the deep wells of their souls, the river of grace that flows deep within all of Creation – even human souls- though often that river is unseen, unknown and untapped.  This is why Christian love must be more than mere thought or attitude, more than wishes and hopes, Christian love must be the giving of cups of cool water, holy love made somehow tangible.  And as the pump is primed, the Grace of God rises up in that person as water drawn from that deep, deep river, then poured out into ministry to others, again and again until the drawn water returns to the Sea once more.

“And like a stream from a river, like a watercourse flowing into a garden, I intend to water my orchard, I intend to irrigate my garden, and behold, my stream has grown into a river, and my river has grown into a sea.”

When the Grace we have first received is poured out to quench the thirst of others, those first trickles of Love become flowing streams, and then those streams grow into mighty rivers, and the rivers make their way back to the Sea … and all along the way that flowing Grace nourishes the first greening of the Springtime of God’s Kingdom.

Pax,

Brother Anthony of the Cross
(jim mcwhinnie)


Visit my poetry site, Willow Words, by clicking www.willowwordspoetry.wordpress.com .

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