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The Only Father Who Came Looking

In the film The Water Diviner, Russell Crowe portrays an Australian farmer, Joshua Connor, who allows his three sons to enlist with the ANZAC troops in World War I. All three of them are together at the Battle of Gallipoli. All three of them go missing in action and are presumed to be dead. The movie begins four years after their disappearance. Connor's wife couldn't handle their loss: she drowns herself early in the movie. Connor buries her, promising at her graveside to bring her boys home and bury them next to her.

As a water diviner (someone who finds hidden sources of water in a dry climate), Connor possesses an innate ability to sense the insensible, and he applies his sixth sense to the problem of locating his lost children. After a three-month journey, Connor arrives in Istanbul, and from there he bribes a fishing boat captain to transport him to Gallipoli, against the wishes of the British Army, who were there trying to find and properly bury their war dead. Possessing nothing but his eldest son's diary and the knowledge of what day his sons disappeared, Connor is convinced that he can find them. A Turkish officer who was present at the battle, Major Ihsan, is the only one who takes Connor seriously. The British officer in charge has already planned for a supply ship to take Connor back to Istanbul, and is content to see him rot on the beach in the meantime.

A most telling scene unfolds: Major Ihsan asks the British officer why they won't help Connor to search for his sons. The officer quips that he can't go about helping every father who won't stay put and let the authorities handle the matter. Major Ihsan replies, "Yes, but he is the only father who came looking."

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) God, grace of; Gospel—That's a beautiful metaphor for the God that we worship: the Father who will not give up on us, but who comes looking for us. He comes after us with an irresistible grace that we can only accept. Like Connor's sons, we are but mute corpses that can only accept the Father's seeking after us. (2) Christmas; Incarnation—The Incarnation and birth of Christ are the ultimate pictures of how this Father comes to search for us.

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