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Topic: Worship (05/03/04)
TITLE: Water Opens Eyes
By Norbert Isles
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Visible realities are the very doorway to invisible reality. The mass of people however, are captivated, fixated and blinded by visible realities. Consequent to this, spiritual reality is eased out of their consciousness and practical life. And, on the rare occasion when it is acknowledged, it is relegated to a compartment of their lives, to be picked up on special occasions – like Lenten season & Christmas, or when they are in dire need or are desperate. Even among Christians there’s a cleavage, a separation, a fragmentation that designate times and places for spiritual things, albeit the rest for day to day living. Our generation is captive to this fragmentation, unaware, blinded, unable to see the truth that God and spiritual reality permeate all of life (Acts 17:28).
This truth is no more clearly revealed by what the word of God – in Scripture and in nature – speaks about water.
Water opens eyes.
The man born blind (John 9: 1-7) was sent by Jesus to wash at the Pool of Siloam. It took the water of Siloam to heal him of his blindness. He was not sent to the synagogue. He was not asked to hear the Torah. He was not asked to offer a sacrifice. He was not asked to give alms to the poor. He was simply sent to the water. And to make him want for water the Lord put mud over his eyes. The water opened his eyes. But more than this, it opened his heart to Jesus. And Jesus became everything to him.
Water opens eyes.
Jesus describes himself as the living water. In truth he is the true reality behind the water that heals. Knowing Jesus opens eyes to a whole new reality – a reality where the invisible is revealed in the visible and the visible opens up to the invisible, a reality where God permeates everything and to live is to breathe God.
The word of God in nature reveals that God – spiritual reality – is the very substance of visible reality. Take the case of water. The scientists, 'exegete' of God’s word in nature, analyzed water into two atoms of Hydrogen and one atom of Oxygen (H2O). The atom was further analyzed into protons and electrons. When these are further analyzed, quantum physicists of the last century discovered that the fundamental composition of matter is not something tangible but waves of energy that spreads out to infinity. In short visible reality is simply pure energy – invisible, intangible, much akin to the spirit. What the quantum physicists discovered (though they don’t exactly use the term) is that the substance of visible reality is God. And in truth He is, for everything comes from God.
The one then whose eyes are opened, sees God in visible reality. Every contact with visible reality opens him to God. To live then is to live in God “in whom we live and have our being”. (Acts 17:28).
The person whose eyes has been washed by the 'water of Siloam' sees and lives in God. Jesus becomes his whole reality. He learns to believe that Jesus is Lord. And knowing the Word made flesh as Lord transforms one’s vision of reality. Rather than being blocked by or stumble upon things and people, everything opens up to God and makes him one with God.
The life of St. Francis of Assisi is a clear picture of one for whom everything speaks, draws and unites to God. Everything he touched awakened in him a sense of the Father’s loving touch. Every sound he heard – the song of the birds, the melody of the rushing spring water, the cursed remark of the alms giver - vibrated with the father’s loving voice. The splendor of the dawn as it paints the color of a new day, the sight of the leper with wounds oozing with sores; everything he laid his eyes on unfolds the Father’s loving presence. The movie “Brother Sun, Sister Moon”, which illustrates this clearly, elicited from realists comments of a 'romanticized version'. I thought so then. But the longer I walk with God and the closer my heart to Him, the more my eyes are opened; the stronger my conviction becomes that indeed “the world is charged with the grandeur of God” (Gerard Manley Hopkins). And that is without exception. Everything is within his sovereignty, everything is permeated by Him, every thing is filled with God, even the sinner in his illusory life.
Yes, water opens eyes. But for those ‘whose eyes are already opened’ yet live lives in separate compartments – the church and the world – what’s needed is to thirst for the water. And having one’s throat dry and parched, to drink the water. It is not enough to conjecture or rationalize or simply quote the scriptures to ourselves. We need to drink the water. And as the cool refreshing liquid quench our thirst we come to sense that indeed the water is God.