Life Thirst: L’Chaim [Poem by Mom]

Spring is almost here, bursting with new life and old longings, and I have a poem to match the season. Are you thirsty? Then read on…

(See here for an introduction to this monthly series from Mom.)

I think this poem will sing most powerfully if takes your ears by ambush. So, first the poem, then some reflections from Mom.


LIFE THIRST: L’CHAIM

How thirsty you are in the spring,
Earth with your thousand mouths.
Everywhere orifices open
Gaping for trickle,
Stream and torrent.
“A drink please,” you whisper,
“Please, more water, please.”
Mounds of snow you demolish,
Water that travels for miles to slake your thirst.
Cracked skin softens to mud,
Leaves compost, soil moistens,
Thirsty for more, for the future, for life.
Woodlands and roadsides chorus
With the trickle,
Rush,
Thunder of running water,
Gulping faster,
Gasping for breath,
Eyes closed,
All mouth,
Lifting your glass–“To life! To life!”

How thirsty you are in the spring,
Earth with your millions of mouths,
Recalling a dry, dusty hill
In a sun-scorched Judean town
Where the thirst of a thousand generations
Whispering for water–“Please, a drink.”–
Culminated in one agonizing cry
From One lifted up–“I thirst!”
And the parched world drank
As His blood trickled,
Gushed,
Flowed–
A strange, salty drink to satisfy the thirst of the millennia!
Everywhere you hold high
Crystal goblet, plastic tumbler,
Tin cup,
Gasping for life,
Gulping faster,
All mouth,
Belly overflowing with Living Water.
Lifting your glass to Him who calls–“To life! To life!”

–Elaine Gingrich, March 2004


Life Thirst - Spring Runoff


Reflections from Mom

My husband and I raised our four children in Georgian Bay country in Ontario, where the rocks, lakes and trees cry out God’s grandeur. This poem began with a spring walk, listening to the exuberant sounds of rushing water. I can still see the icy rock cuts with rivulets of water running down into the gurgling ditches on Blue Lake Road. The thirsty earth drinking in new life triggered the image of celebrating Jews in Fiddler on the Roof, thirsty for life and hope, lifting their glasses in the Hebrew toast “L’chaim!”–“To life!” The whole earth is toasting life in springtime. An even deeper thirst draws us to lift our glass to Christ who lifted His voice and then His dying body in the ultimate celebration of life. What a price He paid to give us the water of life! We honour Him today when we drink the cup of communion, remembering His blood that flowed one spring day about 2000 years ago.


If you enjoyed this poem, leave a comment here for Mom, or send her an email at MomsEmailAddressImage.php.  Thanks!


Photo Credit: D-A-O via Compfight cc


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6 thoughts on “Life Thirst: L’Chaim [Poem by Mom]”

    1. Zonya, I am blessed to hear that the poem resonated with you! I know God often ministers to you too through His creation.

  1. Yes! These words are exactly right for expressing the essence of spring. My natural surroundings are very different than what Elaine describes. My physical world is too dry and there are no rocks over which water trickles or gushes. But the earth has many orifices for drinking in whatever moisture is offered, and new life erupts from even small offerings. Wrapping up all these realities in an image of the life-giving blood of Jesus is really masterful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Miriam. “New life erupts from even small offerings.” Wonderful encouragement for seasons of waiting, or for when our small-faith hearts are still too dry to absorb the full blessings of grace. Thanks for the comment.

  2. This is beautiful. The metre and rhythm feel like Hopkins. I love the picture of Jesus calling us to life by drinking of His death. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Rachel. To sound like Hopkins is more than I can hope for. 🙂 But I do find nature speaks poetry to me, and many of Hopkins’ poems were also inspired by the varied glorious and intricate details of God’s creation. God has written His truth in the parables of earth and sky and water. Have a blessed Easter!

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