I’m not usually much of a poetry buff, but this (edited) opening to a DH Lawrence poem struck me
As we live, we are transmitters of life.
And when we fail to transmit life, life fails to flow through us.
And if, as we work, we can transmit life into our work,
life, still more life, rushes into us to compensate, to be ready
and we ripple with life through the days.
In John 4 we read of Jesus talking to a woman by a well in Samaria. She has come, in the heat of the day, to draw water from the well. Hiding her secret, possibly in despair that life could ever be different she walks to the well. She has experienced many problems in her life, including several broken marriages, which have really hurt her. Jesus speaks to her in a kindly way, even though her first response to him is negative. He revels a real love for her and addressed her deepest needs … he meets her despair and hiddenness with hope and life.
Jesus knows that the water from the well could only satisfy the physical needs of the woman and her family for a short time but, using the image of water, he speaks of the deep and lasting satisfaction which comes from knowing him. He tells her that she has only to ask him and he would give her “living water”, the water of life. He goes on to say, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
How many prisoners or prison staff have we come across in the last few weeks who seem to exude despair or hiddenness, and how do we meet them? True, like Jesus we meet them wherever they are, but how do we meet them. Do we transmit life? Do we transmit hope?
DH Lawrence goes on
Even if it is a woman making an apple dumpling, or a man a stool,
if life goes into the pudding, good is the pudding,
good is the stool,
content is the woman, with fresh life rippling in to her,
content is the man.
Give, and it shall be given unto you
is still the truth about life.
But giving life is not so easy.
It doesn't mean handing it out to some mean fool, or letting the living dead eat you up.
It means kindling the life-quality where it was not,
even if it's only in the whiteness of a washed pocket-handkerchief.
Jesus said “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” Jn 10:10