I was in the church, empty, walking around when I faced our beautiful baptismal font...EMPTY!!! No water, no baptisms...it seems so unnatural and even lifeless. I became a bit sad. Water starts it all for the Christian, without which we can’t enter the church. In these times of not being able to come together, we have to discover new “streams of water” flowing WITHIN the center of our beings: the water of the Spirit.
The first reading from Ezekiel the prophet gives us the image of the flowing waters, gushing from the Holy of Holies into the sea, transforming them into fresh water.
And in the gospel, a man unable to walk sits by the waters of Bethesda, healing waters, but he can’t enter those waters due to his disability. And so he waits for 38 years!!!! Yes, my typing is accurate this time: 38 years. Talk about patience.
Jesus comes to this patient man. He asks him if he would like to be made well. Can you imagine the reaction of the man to Jesus, the only one who wanted to help. Jesus simply tells him to “rise and pick up your mat.” Whenever the gospel writer uses the word “rise,” it points to the Resurrection. This man experiences a foreshadowing of the resurrection: he “rises” to a new life.
The fresh waters flowing from the Temple, the healing waters of the pool of Bethesda, the life changing waters of baptism. Experience the waters of the Spirit flowing withinYOU, they flow from the center of your being, the Holy of Holies, and into your minds, hearts, imaginations, bringing fresh life.
The empty baptismal reminded me how filled we all are with life giving waters as we journey to Easter. No need to be sad.