An Endless Journey

More than a century ago a great sailing ship was stranded off the coast of South America. Week after week the ship lay there in the still waters with not a hint of a breeze. The captain was desperate; the crew was dying of thirst. And then, on the far horizon, a steamship appeared, headed directly towards them. As it drew near the captain called out ‘We need water! Give us water!’

The steamship replied, ‘Lower your buckets where you are.’

The captain was furious at this cavalier response but called out again, ‘Please, give us water!’

But the steamer gave the same reply, ‘Lower your buckets where you are!’ And with that they sailed away! The captain was beside himself with anger and despair, and he went below. But a little later when no one was looking, a yeoman lowered a bucket into the sea and then tasted what he brought up: It was perfectly sweet, fresh water! For you see, the ship was just out of sight of the mouth of the Amazon. And for all those weeks they'd been sitting right on top of all the fresh water they needed!

There is in all of us a restlessness that keeps us searching, moving, changing, looking far and wide for something - we're not sure what - but something that can satisfy us and fill us full.

We search and search, for the fanciest mobile phone, the ultimate car, the perfect best friend, the hottest new resort: We find them - more or less - and before you know it we're weary and listless again. A vague feeling of emptiness whispers, even as we find some new treasure, ‘not enough, not enough.’

Eventually we ask: Will it ever end? Will we ever find the satisfaction and peace we seek, or will we die listless and world-weary as so many have before us?

As the three kings could tell us, it all depends on where we look. What we're seeking isn't to be found out there. We can't buy it, lease it, invent it, or negotiate for it. We can't beg, borrow, or steal it. We can't move to a new place and find it. What we're really seeking is already inside us, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be embraced: The Holy Spirit of God who has lived within us from the first second of our life. The Holy Spirit who is saying to us at this very moment, ‘Lower your buckets where you are. Taste and see!’

Only the Holy Spirit of God is large enough to fill us full, to calm our restlessness and bring us the peace and contentment we crave. Nothing less will do. So there's nothing left to do but to whisper this prayer from deep in our heart:Come, Holy Spirit! Fill our hearts, and set us on fire! Amen.

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