It’s really easy to like all of 2 Nephi 22 (Compare with Isaiah 12). It’s one of the “Isaiah chapters” in the Book of Mormon that doesn’t talk about war, Assyria, and all other sorts of difficult-to-understand-things. In this chapter, Isaiah praises the Lord, and anyone else who has a testimony in Jesus Christ can certainly relate.
Today, I found verse 3 really striking:
“Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” – 2 Nephi 22:3
I can’t really say why this struck me today, so I’m going to just “think out loud” on this blog post for a minute.
Christ is the Living Water. When we associate with Him, when we covenant with Him, and “draw” from Him, then we experience joy.
Maybe it’s also a kind of choice. I mean, obviously we have a choice to “draw” from the wells of salvation or not. We have a choice to covenant with Christ or not.
But are we always “drawing” with joy?
People do make covenants then come to church or go to the temple or any number of things that might be considered “drawing” without joy. They serve without joy. Why?
Perhaps there are times when we draw without joy because we are mourning. I have certainly experienced this. Several years ago, I found myself going through a difficult time. I was getting a divorce. Shortly after telling my ex-husband I wanted a divorce, I went to the temple alone. If you aren’t familiar with Mormon Temples, then you should know that people can attend the temple alone. That isn’t a problem. But often there are people who attend the temple with their spouse.
It stung to go to the temple alone. It was hard to feel the weight of the pain of my life in a place that was usually peaceful. I thought a lot about my ex-husband, he had betrayed me and our marriage covenants. It was really difficult to understand what was happening in my life. Needless to say, when I went to the temple that day, I wasn’t really “drawing” with joy.
I was mourning.
Of course, it’s important to remember what Christ said, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
So – there are times when we don’t draw with joy – and that may be because of some kind of difficulty or adversity in our lives.
I will say that even though I didn’t jump with joy at the temple that first time after my separation from my ex-husband, by the end of my service at the temple, I was filled with a sort of peace. I was being comforted. I knew I needed to take all of my covenants with the Lord seriously, and that I needed to continue to “draw” from the well of salvation. And over time, I did draw – with less mourning and more joy.
Sometimes we may be “drawing” from the waters of salvation without joy – and not because we are experiencing adversity, sorrow, or mourning. Perhaps we may be going through the motions.
This is kind of a problem.
We must make the choice to worship and draw in a meaningful and joyful way. We don’t go to the temple because our leaders have told us to. We don’t serve God so that we can check off a box or pat ourselves on the back. The covenants of the Lord aren’t arbitrary commands given by a power-hungry God.
The covenants and commandments of God are given to us so that we can be happy – so we can be agents, so we can be free from sorrow and sin. They are given to us by a loving God – a Father in Heaven.
If we are “drawing” from the well of salvation only because it is an expectation, or because our neighbors do it, or to placate someone else. If we’re simply going through the motions, instead of drawing with joy, then we lose out. We don’t experience the joy of salvation because we’re not acting in joy in the first place. If this is happening, either we need to repent or we simply don’t understand what God is offering us in the first place.
It’s a joy to say that Jehovah is my strength and my song. I trust in Him. And I have drawn and will continue to draw – with joy! – from the waters of salvation.