My bottle of salvation
The imagery of a bottle reminds us of drinking and thirst, and this is a theme that Raleigh refers to at various points in his poem. He comments that in heaven he will, “drink my eternal fill,” and that he and the other pilgrims will, “…slake their thirst….at the clear wells where sweetness dwells,” and “when our bottles and all we are fill’d with immortality, then the holy paths we’ll travel.”
This in some ways, echoes the passage in Isaiah 12:3 (NIV) which says,
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” or as The Message puts it, “Joyfully you’ll pull up buckets of water from the wells of salvation. And as you do it, you’ll say “Give thanks to God, call out his name. Ask him anything!” ( Isaiah 12:3&4 The Message).
This theme continues in the New Testament with the well known story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, in John 4. When the Samaritan woman queries why Jesus, as a Jew, would ask her, a Samaritan woman for a drink, (since culturally the Jews did not talk to Samaritans at that time) Jesus responds with,
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” and then, in response to her reply, he adds, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4: 10 & 13-14 NIV).
The hunger and thirst for something more, together with the desire for deeper spirituality, has prompted people through the ages to explore and pursue the journey of faith. There are many seasons in this journey and at times we can all become worn out and weary and need to step aside and rest awhile and drink deeply again at the wells of salvation, so that the living water may well up within us and revives for the next stage of the journey.
So, what does salvation mean for us today and how can we ensure that we are resourced and nourished for the journey? Take some time to reflect on these questions and maybe imagine that you are doing so by a well!
After your time of reflection, take a moment or two and, “Give thanks to God, call out his name. Ask him anything!’ (Isaiah 12:4 The Message)
Finally you may like to listen to the song, ‘You are my desire’ by Harmony Smith, in which she sings about the living water from a well that never runs dry (from the CD, Creator 2011 Vineyard Records UK,available to download from iTunes).