This week, I am nestled in with extended family at a timeshare off of Lake Marion in Santee, South Carolina. Having never been here, I wondered what it was that could possibly be appealing about this location as we drove by a plethora of abandoned and under-nurtured properties, scattered throughout the many fast food and truck stop joints. Why was this a place of leisure and relaxation? Apart from the great lake, South Carolina’s largest, and the golf courses surrounding the time share, there was little motivation to leave the resort on a rainy day. We were far enough away from any major town, so any kid-friendly attraction beyond crawdad catching and puddle jumping would mean at least two hours in the car.
On Monday morning, just after breakfast, I was out on the back balcony overlooking the lake drinking my coffee. I watched as hundreds of black long-necked birds, swiftly, yet gracefully plunged into the water, skating a great distance before finally landing and then diving immediately headfirst into the water.
It was a sight! I stood watching for at least five minutes and the stream of birds continued - in the hundreds they came, gliding across the water from both directions.
After doing some initial research, I came to understand these birds to be cormorants. As I watched their behaviors it was no surprise to me that these birds had been targeted by hunters and fishermen of the greater Lake Marion region to be competitors for the fish; and thus, the hunters and fishermen were granted a license to “kill” the birds who are known to eat half a ton of fish each within a 12 week period.
Between 2013 and 2014, the federal courts granted fisherman the opportunity to receive permits to devastate this population of “pesky” birds, killing upwards of 25,000 cormorants in under 2 years. In May of 2016, however a U.S. court in Washington suspended the federal order giving these birds a new lease on life.
As I considered my own musings as to the desirability of being nurtured by this unseemly location, I was reminded of Jesus’ encounter with an unknown woman who drew water from a well for which she was naive to its true purpose. Sometimes new life is just beneath the surface; and once we know it is there, I believe we, too, will come running from all directions.
May the Spirit continue to lead the way,
Rev. Jenny Shultz-Thomas
As we continue the Lenten journey together, I invited you to view and share the following video with those who may have need of hearing of Jesus’ “living water”: