Some of my favorite memories involve a stream near my childhood home. Allow me to take you there. The clear, pristine stream rushes, fed by winter’s heavy snows. Spray flies high, and then plummets home. Children hop from one rock to another, like a game of hopscotch. Their silvery laughter floats above the water. Downstream, boys skip rocks across a still pool. With a sidearm snap, rocks fly and skip, one, two, three, four times.
Adults enjoy water, too. Many like to swim, boat, ski, or fish. More than recreational, water is essential. After exercise, its iciness quenches. Splash it over your face to cool off on a sweltering day. Boiling water cooks our food. A steaming bath relaxes tense muscles. Water and soap keep us clean. Spill food on your shirt? Rinse it with water.
An anonymous medieval writer who penned “The Anima Christi” found a different use for water: Water from Christ’s side, wash out my stains. As Christ’s lifeless body hung from the cross, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out (John 19:34 NKJ). The poet asks that this water wash his stains.
Picture Jesus walking toward you, his countenance loving, his manner firm, yet gentle. He carries a large basin, a pure white cloth draped over one arm. As He nears, you kneel, head down, filled with shame because you are stained. Wordlessly, He sets down His basin filled with water from his pierced side. He dips the cloth and oh, so gently, washes your first stain. He rinses the white cloth and cleans more stains: greed, pride, lust, selfishness, laziness, and self-righteousness. You lift your head and gaze into His eyes. Love, mingled with sorrow, gazes back. You rise cleansed, filled with joy and peace. He turns and leaves silently, knowing you will acquire new stains. But He will return to wash your stains, because he loves you more than life itself and his basin is always full.
Lord of my life, wash away every stain; make me clean.
Ezekiel 36:25a (NIV) “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean.”