Somewhere between Montana and Minnesota on the long drive back, I thought of this story as a parable of the church. Christians have been pretty comfortable for many years doing church like we've always done it. We've found our water in an oasis of traditional hymns, liturgies, buildings set aside for worship, professional clergy, and the like. But things are heating up, and that waterhole is drying up. A few churches still make do in the mud flats around the edges, but there's not much water left there. Do we have what it takes to move? Can we look at the other horses -- I mean churches -- and see who looks like they have enough water? Where are they finding it? How are they connecting with Jesus and with his body? How are they seeking the water of life?
I've been reading a book the last few days called Total Church. If these questions get under your skin, if you feel thirsty and the temperature seems to be rising, I highly recommend it. It might challenge your ideas about what the church is and what it's called to do, but you might also find that God's Spirit is welling up through some new areas like a spring.