There is something supernatural about water. Annie Dillard saw it. “It is the live water & light that bears from undisclosed sources the freshest news, renewed & renewing, word without end.” One of my favorite promises involves water: “Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38).
Saturday morning finds us scrambling, slipping, & frantically grasping vines as we climb eroding, muddy, rainy-season paths to Nyahuka waterfall. A small part of my heart hopes to find Dillard’s mentioned renewal in the powerful force of wet particles spraying my face with the soul’s quench of eternal live water.
My soul is hungry this week. I am missing the constant encouragement of verses, struggles, & discipleship I share with friends back home. Unconsciously, I begin looking for manna in books. Just one won’t fill, so I pick up another & another, & before I know it, four books about faith lie partially read with highlights & notes on each page. I’m searching for a solvent for my groaning soul. Searching for something refreshing & reviving. Something like water.
Piper says that our joy is complete by the act of worship. Admiration wells up inside our hearts & joy bursts forth with our adoration for the glory of God. As I lift my camera to zoom into a raindrop on a leaf, I slightly understand. A drop unnoticed by the proceeding line of mizungus & children sheds its normalcy under my lens’s focus & transforms into a sparkling globe, defying gravity, reflecting an upside down jungle. My heart gasps under this palpitation of divine glory.
Up on high rocks, standing underneath the powerful force of a waterfall, I close my eyes & anticipate the change. My body temperature cools & my sweat washes away. But nothing extraordinary happens. My heart leans forward, ear tilted, eyebrow raised, waiting. Where is the extravagant moment, the writer’s climax, the Psalter’s song? I don’t feel anything. What is this numbness? This is a waterfall! I’m supposed to be filled with awe to the point of tears by God’s physical revelation of power & magnificence. But my childlike amazement has been ruined by assumed early adulthood.
Back at the mission, we run through the prelude of a thunderstorm. Heavy raindrops violently tap the tin roof to gracefully float down the gutter & puddle on the grass. I sit on the porch & fiddle with aperture, exposure & shutter speed. I press hard the button to release pictures of different angles, styles, & stories. The gutter. The corner. The droplets. The ripples. I hold the camera on the ground & half-heartedly snap another. Review. Stop.
Glory stares back at me. The paradox of genius in simplicity Dillard finds in walks by the creek. The splendor of nature Piper admires as part God’s kingdom. The water Jesus preaches to relate to human minds.
Frozen raindrops. Puddled reflections. Green grass caught in a dance. The joy of a good picture trickles into my heart then bounds into a flood. It rushes through each vein till it hits every part of my being. Peace comes without answers. Excitement leaps from no adventure. Worship rises without a waterfall.
Like a time machine or movie, images flash through my memory: spider web laced in light, toddler in a river, children laughing, fabric in a breeze, elephants grazing, hippos playing. All images through a lens. All proclaiming God’s wonder. All everyday things.
Staring at the image on my camera, I confess blindness. I look for theology in books when the story of mystifying grace falls outside my window. The awe of God & His beauty resides in the unadorned, unnoticed, & mundane things. The specs I glance past out of frequency & apathy are really divine moments the Creator delights in. Simple drops of water feed me. Renew me. Beauty & grace dance around me. I lift my camera to again look through the lens & this time,I worship.