Friday of the Second Week of Advent. Read more….

“Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life. He is like a tree planted near running water, That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers.”
– Psalm 1:3

Being an urban Southern Californian, I’ve never really seen a “tree planted near running water,” especially not one that receives life from a stream. I can imagine the water flowing over root systems, the lush greenery, the leaves and stems that shoot off from the thicker branches. I can picture this scene, but I have no real experience of this kind of life-giving water. 

When other people describe prayer or their image of God, it can feel like looking at images of water.  I get the general idea but I could not tell you the temperature or depth of the water.  I could not tell you the sound the water makes rushing downstream, or when it gurgles through a narrower opening. I do not know what it feels like to sit on the edge of the stream and watch the water flow.  I look at other people and compare myself: I am not as good a mom, I am less organized, I am more anxious. They all have it together more than I do. I need a thicker skin. I am like a tree planted just outside the reach of the running water. My thirst is not quenched and my roots remain dry. This is exactly where God meets us. He comes into our present moment, into the parched places of our soul and offers hope. Observing where God has been for others may help us to recognize God in our own midst, but we will not be satisfied until we drink from that well of eternal life.

An Imaginative Prayer 

Imagine yourself standing at the edge of some source of water (a stream, the ocean, a lake). Using your senses (touch, smell, sight, sound, and taste) place yourself by the water’s edge.  Allow all of the sensations of the water’s edge to become evident. 

Now, imagine yourself gently stepping into the water.  Does it feel as you expected? Perhaps the rush knocks you off balance a bit.  Imagine yourself regaining solid footing and standing amidst the current. As you experience the water flooding around your legs and feet, imagine that God’s love will wash you in the same way. The grace was waiting just ahead of you… all you needed to do was take a small step into the flow. 

Today, do I feel like a bystander to God’s grace? Or have I allowed myself to be immersed in whatever gift God offers me on this day?

Published by jencoito

Jen Coito is a California native with diverse experience in parish, academic, and national ministry settings. She has a Masters in Pastoral Theology from Loyola Marymount University. She worked for the California Province of Jesuits for seven years promoting Christian Life Community on university campuses and other diverse ethnic settings. Jen has collaborated on the creation of formation materials, discernment tools, and small group processes that are being used around the country in Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, and English. In 2013, Jen and Jesuit priest Fr. Tri Dinh co-founded Christus Ministries out of a desire to engage local young adults and form young-adult friendly parishes. Jen works for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California as the Associate Director of Mission Advancement. Jen, Jason, and their three children live in Southern California. You can read more of Jen's writings at

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