The Old Well
“God is an underground river,” Meister Eckhart said, “that no one can dam up or stop.”
I love that image of God because it completely flips the dominant image of God “up there.” When we first imagine a deity, God is always “up,” always distant, the Sky God of nearly every ancient religion. Until, gradually, it dawns upon us that the God whom the cosmos cannot contain is actually deep within. The ground of our being. And that underground river runs right through you. Sink a well within yourself and in the hidden darkness of earth the river erupts. Water! Through the prophet Isaiah God promises even “streams in the desert.”
God is the subterranean gusher and prayer is the well. Draw deeply—and often.
I once heard a story about the importance of “often,” told by Jungian analyst and Episcopal priest John Sanford, who remembers a well in his childhood home that offered sweet cold water and never ran dry, even in the severest droughts that sent neighbors to the nearby lake. But when the old house was modernized and a new well was drilled and outfitted with an electric pump, the old well was covered up. Years later, half curious, he pulled the cover off the well and found it bone dry. He could hardly believe it. Sanford asked around and learned that when a well like this is neglected for years, all the underground rivulets that feed it begin to clog from disuse.
So pray today, even if you have time only to draw up a bucket or two of that cold sweet water of life. When you find your Source, keep it flowing.