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One wonderful season of our lives, my husband and I loaded up our country kids and moved to the city for six-months. John and I determined that his short-term work assignment out of the area would be a perfect opportunity to give our 5, 8 and 11 year-old children a taste of life that was completely different than our very rustic, woodsy life to that point. Rather than dad being away from us five days each week, we chose to tag along and make an adventure out of it.

The six months rolled out one surprise after another. We learned to keep our garage door closed when the skateboards disappeared. We held our breath every day as our seventh grader found his way along busy city streets to navigate the social structure of an enormous middle school. We learned how to meet and greet our other two on different bus schedules. Life simply was not simple in the city.

We loved living in our condo elbow to elbow with a diversity of neighbors, young and old, foreign and flavorful. We rode our bicycles everywhere that was somewhat safe, through local green spaces that didn’t even resemble our familiar open fields and woodlands. The library only blocks away became a favorite biking destination, and Dairy Queen $1 blizzards a regular attraction in the other direction.

As the children learned what it was like to be city-kids and dad went off to work each day, I began to develop a new circle of friends from the church we had found to attend. One of the women, younger by a few years than I was, intrigued me with her traditional Indian attire, the colorful saris of her homeland. Even more intriguing was her quiet, yet confident demeanor. She walked with head high and shoulders back, a ready smile on her face and eyes that sparkled with a sense that something rich and wonderful waited to be teased out of her.

And so it was. Padmini agreed to let me “sit at her feet,” in a manner of speaking. We met almost weekly for several months at her home where we talked about our faith, our families and about life. Padmini taught me the lessons she had learned about “living water” from the Bible, about the streams that flow in the desert and the trees whose roots go deep and continually bear fruit, even in a season of drought.

I chose Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV) as my life verse. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. {She} will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

The six months passed too quickly for me. I experienced a season of spiritual abundance at the city church and under the tutelage of my new friend. Just before we moved back home to the country at the end of the school year, Padmini presented me with a ceramic pitcher with this inscription, “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning.” She had poured out living water from her full cup into my thirsty heart.

God gave me a refreshing gift during that brief sojourn that has carried me through many periods of both abundance and drought ever since. I have learned and continue to grow in the knowledge that God is the source of my refreshment, His word is water for my soul.

 

 

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