Here is The Spring and the River – Six; remember that in Five Lucy was warned that Marianne would try to drag her (Lucy) down to destruction.
“I don’t know how to make her want this,” Lucy groaned as she collapsed into a chair beside her mother. “How do I make her want this?” It was the middle of the afternoon and most of the village was still out working the fields, but Lucy had come home early.
“You can’t make Marianne want or do anything,” her mother said. “There has to be a piece of her that is willing, and you might just need to be patient. Show her what life in the Spring is; show her what she’s missing.”
Lucy nodded, but discouragement weighed heavily.
“In the mean time,” Mother said, “go drink of the Spring and take heart in it.”
The thought of the Spring lifted Lucy’s spirits. Rising, she dropped a kiss on her mother’s cheek before tearing from the house. She was still a few minutes away from the Spring when Marianne appeared. “Where are you going, my Spring obsessed friend?” Marianne asked, her voice mocking as she linked her arm with Lucy’s.
“We are friends?” Lucy asked.
“Ah!” Marianne said. “A question with a question! That’s almost cunning of you, Lucy!”
“Cunning is of the River which I am not,” Lucy said, not realizing that Marianne was leading her away from the Spring.
“Oh,” Marianne groaned. “Why must you be so… of the Spring?”
Lucy was vaguely suspicious that Marianne approached her and was being so friendly, but her suspicion was smothered by a strange new emotion that Lucy could not quite figure out. It made her feel strong, incorruptible… superior. The Spring, Lucy thought. I need to get a drink. No, another – newer – part of her whispered. This is a chance to connect with Marianne. If you go to the Spring now, it will drive her away. You’re doing the work of the Spring. This quieted Lucy’s growing sense of apprehension, and she let Marianne lead her away. Before she knew it, she was staring into the swirling waters of the River. “Are you brave enough to jump in?” Marianne asked, her voice floating strangely to Lucy’s ears.
“No!” Lucy exclaimed, violently wrenching her arm from Marianne’s and taking a step back. “I will never jump into the River of Wrong! I am of the Spring of Right!”
Marianne shrugged before leaping into the River; Lucy watched her swim. Moments passed and Lucy realized that the River was calling to her, trying to ensnare her. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end, and she desperately reached for her Springstone only to find it missing. Her hand flew to her pocket for her flask, but it was gone as well. “What did you do with it?” she asked Marianne, stepping forward, realizing she was practically at the edge of the River, breaking all of her preset boundaries, the River’s song filling her ears and mind, and not caring.
Marianne watched her with something akin to amusement on her face but it had a more malicious quality. “I didn’t take your precious Springstone, Lucy,” she mocked. “It is not as if you need it; you are strong enough to withstand the River, are you not?”
I am, Lucy thought. She had lived her entire life without being touched by the River. Why fear now? In fact, she was confident enough that she could wet her feet in the River and not become entangled in it. A self-assured, arrogant smile played across her lips. “Only the weak fall into the River, Marianne,” she said, walking along the edge of the River. To think that she had once been so pathetic as to fear tarrying so close so long! “Only the weak become ensnared,” she continued.
Marianne cocked her head and regarded her with glinting eyes. “Prove it,” she said.
This new found strength was incredible! The River is deceiving you! a part of her cried. Flee while you still can! But she considered the thought for but a moment before casting it aside.
She smirked at Marianne, unstrapped one of her sandals, and dipped her toes into the River’s rushing waters.
A jolt of heat rushed from her toes up her leg; a host of new sensations flooded her. But then she realized it. In a moment of true weakness, she had shattered everything she had stood for; crossed the line; become stained by the River; betrayed the Spring. Regret crashed into her so suddenly that it was as if a bucket of cold water had been dumped on her head, and she jerked her foot out of the River. Without a second thought, without a backward glance, Lucy was careening away from the River. Now that it was out of the River, Lucy’s foot felt as if it had been set on fire. She wasn’t evening paying any sort of attention to where she was going, but she let her legs carry her as fast as they could.
She was sobbing as she leapt into the Spring. Gulping down the water as quickly as possible, Lucy did her best to ignore her blistering shame. Minutes slipped away and her weeping finally came to an end. The Spring whispered to her, but it was not the same. It was as if a wall had slammed between her and the Spring, she heard it and felt it, but it did not comfort her as it once had. She considered all that she had lost in that single, horrible moment. Her purity was tarnished beyond repair in that simple act. Her quest to restore Marianne had come to a sudden, atrocious end. How could she possibly restore Marianne after doing what she had done? She had raised her witness to ashes. She had failed. Undoubtedly, she would break her parents’ hearts and lose their trust just as she had lost her innocence. Master Alexei’s words came to her mind. “We must not, must not, be arrogant!… You must tread with care, Lucy.” Oh, how she wished she had taken proper heed and remembered. Arrogant. She was sickened with how arrogant she had been.
Abruptly, she rose out of the water and waded to the edge so that she could pull herself out. Normally, she was loathe to leave the Spring, but guilt clung to her skin even more than her soaking dress. The dripping Springwater gave her no consolation. Hoisting herself out of the Spring, she started towards home. How could she tell her parents? What should she say? Just as she was formulating how she would say it, a new thought entered her mind. Why destroy her parents’ image of her? Why not just keep it a secret? No one beside Marianne knew what had happened for no one had seen her. It would be better this way; it was not as if she would be wetting her feet with the River ever again.
So as she approached her house and her younger siblings home after a day of toil greeted her with smiles and giggles while they surged around her, Lucy stamped out the Spring’s Voice that murmured in her ears, telling her to speak the truth. Oh, how it felt like it was lifetimes ago now that Mother had suggested she visit the Spring. Her mother glanced up from preparing dinner. “Did time with the Spring help?” Mother asked.
“Most definitely,” Lucy said, kissing her mother’s cheek while tying on her apron. “I feel so much better now.” It was the first time she had ever lied in her entire life, but somehow she had the sinking feeling that it would not be her last.
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” – James 4:4
“Therefore, let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” – 1 Corinthians 10:12