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Going Deeper

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 garage.)

 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.

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