A Christian Science perspective: the discovery of a vast aquifer in northwestern Kenya points to the availability of previously unseen spiritual resources.

The remarkable discovery of hidden reserves of water in a northwestern corner of Kenya brings the possibility and promise of a very different future for millions of Kenyans (Mike Pflanz, “Delaware-sized lake discovered beneath Kenya desert,” The Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 11). I rejoiced to hear this good news and couldn’t help but view the discovery as an inspiration and model for spiritual practice.

The quality-of-life statistics in Kenya have been grim: More than 20 million people lack access to clean water, and farmers consistently struggle to raise crops without adequate irrigation. Despite these outward appearances, however, scientists have been able to identify a deep aquifer estimated to contain billions of gallons of the earth’s most precious resource.

How many times a day are we presented – often aggressively and repeatedly – with a sense of lack? Lack of health, peace, patience, opportunity, financial security, fulfilling companionship, meaningful employment ... the list could go on and on. Like the researchers in Kenya, however, we can choose to look beyond outward appearances to a deeper, spiritual reality.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, regularly looked to Christ Jesus as the best example of how to pray for the world. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she writes: “Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe. He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause” (p. 313).

How else could Christ Jesus have consistently performed such works of healing and restoration as feeding multitudes from apparently meager provisions and revealing health and life in the face of chronic illness and death? He must have innately known that beyond the surface view of lack lay the boundless truth of man’s being – harmonious and wholly cared for in every way by a loving, attentive God.

We, too, have divine authority to “plunge beneath the material surface,” rejecting whatever tries to present itself as hopeless or lacking, and confidently trusting in the limitless spiritual resources sustaining creation. Then we rejoice with the prophet, who shares this vision in Isaiah 41:18: “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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