When my brother and I were children, we liked to dig
wells in the back yard. It sounds impressive, I know, but for us
digging a well was a simple process:
1. Take a piece of
aluminum pipe about six feet long and an inch and a half or two inches
in diameter. (This was usually leaning against the wall in the
2. Grab the pipe with both hands and drive it into the ground as hard as you can.
3. Pull it up and bang it on a tree to knock out the dirt.
4. Repeat steps 1 – 3 until you have a neat and narrow hole several feet deep.
This being Florida, with a high water table (at
least in those days), we would reach water-bearing sand a few feet below
the surface. How exciting it was to see the first drops of water in the
sandy soil brought up by our pipe!
Now this was not exactly a well you could drop a
bucket into and bring up a cool drink. For that we would have had to go
much deeper. But back then we were more than satisfied with these
shallow wells and the sandy water they gave.
In the realm of the spirit, however, there is
something in each of us that continually calls us deeper—beneath the
sand and the pollutants, beyond the murkiness of our hearts to that
living stream where the water is pure and flows freely.
Strangely enough, though, when we think we have
arrived there, and after we have rested a while, we hear again the call,
“Go deeper.” We respond by letting ourselves be drawn—and there we may
find ourselves in what seems like the dark. We may feel as if we have
lost the light of God, but this may be because we had mistaken our own
light for God’s, and our own light is no help here.
(Notice that in this journey it can be very helpful to have a skilled spiritual director.)
Then, once again, when we have grown accustomed to
the new depth, we hear again, “Come deeper”—and this time it may be a
call to move beyond the fear that keeps us focused on ourselves and the
unlove that imprisons us. We are called always deeper toward that place
in our hearts where perceiving distinctly with our human eyes seems less
important than it used to, for Christ is light and God is all in all.