Have you ever climbed a part of a mountain and wondered who has gone before you? Or have you ever wondered what that part of the landscape has experienced?
I often do that. Sometimes I wonder whose feet have trodden the same track I was on, what ancient person travelled this same road.
Mountains remind us of a significant truth. That is, they stand as a reminder of time. In fact they tell us that we are such a small part of the history of the world. Mountains are a sentinel of time. Anyone who has been in the Flinders Ranges knows exactly what I’m talking about. The mountains have been there long before us and they will be there long after us.
So if mountains have been there for a long time, consider the One who made them! How eternal is our God! How timeless!! How insignificant are we, but how valuable is his love towards us! That God would consider even us! How good is that!
There are many benefits from being in the mountains. One of the great things is the fresh water. Anyone who has been able to drink from a mountain stream knows what I’m talking about.
Sometimes the water comes from snow melt, other times from soaks and small streams that form to make a clear flowing river.
If you have ever climbed up the side of a mountain and found a small stream they are a welcome sight! On many occasions I have worked hard to get to a particular spot and on the way taken a drink from a mountain water source. The water is certainly cold, but also clear and pure. Nothing beats it!
When Jesus says He is the water of life it is a significant thing! He is not referring to some dirty back creek that’s muddy and polluted but rather a pure stream that refreshes our deepest thirst. A thirst that goes beyond physical and into the spiritual.
How do we get it, this water of life? Well actually we start by asking. Simple as that!
Last week I began to talk about my long standing connection with mountains. Indeed my love for mountains! I have only been on Australian mountains, and one day hope to experience New Zealand ones! While I do find them a spiritual place, and while I have had many meaningful experiences with them they are dangerous. I know of several first hand stories where proficient bushmen have had near death experiences.
To survive well in the mountain, especially if you are backpacking in for an extended stay, you have to be well prepared. This includes a level of physical fitness, quality gear to use, appropriate food and mental fortitude. Many people underestimate the dangers that exists in leaving the beaten track and venturing into the unknown. Preparedness is the key and it always has been. Being ready is essential to enjoying the experience.
There is a significant application to faith that comes from this. Often we engage with the world when we are not prepared to. As followers of Jesus we have a rich resource to draw from. We can be prepared to meet the demands of the world, we can enjoy the experience.
I wonder what you think about this? I wonder how you, as a follower of Jesus, prepare yourself for life?
I'm no stranger to the mountains, I was born in the shadow of three mountains and every spare moment of my adolescent life was spent in them. Tasmanian mountains were a great place for a young man to burn off energy and have some great adventures!
These days I have a particular fondness to be backpacking through them. I have made the drive over to Victoria on many occasions just to experience the cool breeze, the mountain air and clean clear running water. Once you get used to the solitude it is an invigorating place to be. For me, its call is one I cannot escape. I find being there a spiritual place.
Mountains feature significantly in scripture. Moses brought the stone tablets down from the mountain and then he returned up to a mountain to die, Elijah had the experience with the prophets of Baal on the mountain, Jesus had the transfiguration on a mountain, and there are many more.
Maybe it’s the solitude that enables us to hear God more on a mountain, or maybe it’s that we get a better perspective of the enormity of God with the scale of a mountain. Whatever it is, God seeks to engage with us in a meaningful way and for me it can be linked to a mountain. I would be keen to hear what it is for you.