Jewish tradition makes use of many different names for God dependent upon situation and desired outcome. Offering prayers or making reference to Adonai Tzva’ot (the God of Armies), for example, draws upon a far different set of historical experiences and images than would approaching Shekinah, God’s more feminine presence. While each name only reveals a singular facet and small portion of the Infinite’s identity, they speak volumes about the person making use of them.
One of my favorites, Fount of Living Waters — M’kor Mayim Chayim, is a poetic name for God used in this week’s Haftarah portion from the Prophet Jeremiah. (If you ever want to feel old, watch subtle attempts at Jeremiah / bullfrog humor fall flat before today’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah students…) For the generation wandering in the desert, relating God to an oasis evokes emotions tied to the fragility and presence of life itself. While it rains a considerable about more in the Pacific Northwest, Fount of Living Waters remains powerful. A place to turn for the sustaining of life and its highest virtues is indeed the draw of the God of Israel even for us.