Brad and I have slowly but surely been getting to know Tallahassee and all that it has to offer. And one of our favorite discoveries is a little place called Lake Ella. It has become a bit of an oasis for us after each busy week. There is typically a gentle breeze. A couple of fountains are flowing in the center of the lake, creating a calming mist and relaxing sound. There are big, beautiful oak trees that provide plenty of shade and cast interesting shadows near the water. There are seemingly millions of ducks and geese (as well as a pigeon that thinks he is a duck…seriously, it’s the cutest). Each Friday morning, we wake up and take the dog and stroll around the lake a couple of times. We stop at The Black Dog for coffee. We talk about our week, and what we’re looking forward to for the weekend. Really, it’s just a time for us to breathe and to be refreshed. We’re thankful for it, that’s for sure.
A couple of Fridays ago, as we were strolling along, we noticed that there was an unfamiliar, dirty-looking film on the top of the water. We didn’t remember the lake ever looking like that, and we were trying to figure out what was different, or what might have caused that film to appear. What we soon realized was that the fountains that are usually bursting with life were still turned off after the mass power outage around the city. The water was stagnant. There was no movement. There was no life. Lake Ella had turned into a body of water that was dying, that was starting to rot. It definitely did not look like something we would have wanted to dive into or be refreshed by. It was rather unappealing, to say the least.
In their absence, I realized the importance and the need for the fountains.
Fountains create movement.
Fountains bring air and life and breath.
They refresh. They revive. They renew.
Fountains are important for our faith, too. It’s so easy for our faith to become like that lifeless water – stagnant, boring, routine. It becomes okay to just go through the motions. An icky film slowly starts to develop and it suffocates our faith, so that it’s something we have no desire to dive into, to explore, to cultivate.
“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”
I’m finding that it is so important to identify my fountains – to name them. For me, Lake Ella is a fountain - it’s a place for me to breathe deep and slow down. Authentic relationships are a fountain – they are a reminder that I’m not alone is this crazy thing called life. Writing is a fountain – it allows me to think and reflect and process things. Speaking is a fountain – it’s when I feel most passionate about what I believe. Scripture and prayer are fountains – they reveal a little bit more about who God is and help me feel close.
What are your fountains? What creates life and movement in your faith? What connects you to the abundant life Christ intended for us?