I know how much we need it. I know that we live in a chronically dehydrated society. I know that there are people dying because they don’t have access to it. I know that someday soon wars may be fought over it, in the same way we fight over oil today.
But none of this changes a very simple fact:
Water is boring.
It’s boring, I suppose because I’m spoiled. It’s boring because I’m short sighted. It’s boring because I don’t have the maturity to appreciate what a blessing it is. But none of this changes the fact either:
Water is boring.
As we wonder through the wider context of communion, that’s a place I’d like to begin. Water is boring.
And part of water’s boringness is not a function of where, when, and how I live. Part of water’s boringness is universal. It is colorless and tasteless. It is the most basic building block of everything we drink. In some ways, in ancient times, water might have been even more boring than it is today. Thousands of years ago, there were no vending machines, fruit punch mixes, sport drinks, coffee shops, juice blends…
There have been times in my life that have been much like water. Tasteless, odorless, flavorless. Through these times I have had blessings that others only dream of, and yet, these blessings have seemed like a lot of nothing. Just as the ubiquity of water is so very easy to overlook, just as the blessing of having access to enough drinking water to stay healthy is a luxury, so too the health I have had, the freedoms I have had, the friendships I have had… Sometimes these have not felt like enough.
I am not on a “We should do a better job of thinking about the third world and feel grateful for what we’ve got rant.” I’m just setting up an exploration of a mystery: water can be boring.
And life… Life can be boring, too.
The problem runs deeper than boring. That word trivializes the whole affair.
Life can seem empty. It can seem pointless. It can seem tastless colorless and stale.
In my own life, there have been times when I had all this freedom and enjoyment. It felt like all I could ever need.
But suddenly? It wasn’t enough anymore. I needed something more. All these things that I was doing, they had their price. Once they had been vibrant, ecstatic even. But eventually… eventually they were like water. Odorless, colorless, joyless.
We all know that when the old thrills stop be thrilling we have two choices. The first is to step things up a notch. Intensify our greed, lust, and desire. Seek out more of our old poison in order to feel the same old effects. The second is to shrug our shoulders, give up…. And just go through the motions.
We can live off water. But who would want to? Sometimes, in life, it’s like our whole diet, our whole world is boring, room-temperature water.