“In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, / Fill my thirsting soul with the waters of godliness, as You did cry to all: / If anyone thirst let him come to Me and drink! / O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to You!” (Byzantine Troparion-hymn of the Midfeast of Pentecost)
How appropriate that today, on the “Midfeast” of Pentecost (i.e., the midpoint between the feasts of Pascha and Pentecost, according to the Older Calendar), the main hymn or “troparion” talks about spiritual thirst. Now that Lent is long over, the Paschal celebration has faded, and summer is upon us, I tend to drift, perhaps unnoticeably, into spiritual indifference. So, as my heart and mind begin to head for a sandy beach, the Church reminds me of a waterless desert, where I may find myself right now, barely noticing it.
The main theme of the Sundays preceding Pentecost is “water,” along with spiritual “thirst.” There is the kind of water that is not our ultimate answer, like the pool of Bethesda in John 5 (read in church on the Sunday of the Paralytic), and like Jacob’s well in John 4 (read on the next Sunday, of the Samaritan Woman). It is only in communion with Christ, in His Holy Spirit, that my inner “thirst,” the hole in my heart, is filled.
So this season, whether we’re headed for a sandy beach, or a swimming pool, or perhaps a pub (shout-out to any readers in Australia ☺ ), let me take pause and take care, first, of “my thirsting soul.” Today I come to Him and drink, as He invites me to do, on a daily basis. “O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to You!”