Water is absolutely essential for life, it is such a beautiful gift from God and given to mankind so freely. It is not something any of us can earn or work for. Rain, rivers, springs, all available in nature, keep us alive, and all these different types of water are used as illustrations of God’s presence with us.
We were talking yesterday about Jesus’ referral to the ‘Life’ that He was going to give people as ‘Living water’. He would give this ‘water’ to those who ‘came’ to Him, those who were thirsty. Thirst is often used in the Bible as a description of our spiritual longings, and often the implication is that our thirst is quenched as we connect with God.
Right at the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, there was no shortage of water, in fact we are told that ‘A river watering the garden flowed from Eden’, Genesis 2:10. The symbolism is clear, this was where God walked and talked with Adam and Eve. There was face to face fellowship. God’s presence was all around them.
Hundreds of years later the Psalmist cries out to God Himself to quench his spiritual thirst saying, “As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God. When can I go and meet with God?’, Psalm 42:1,2. In the Amplified Bible it reads ‘My inner self thirsts for God, the living God. When shall I come and behold His face?
Then we have the famous words from Isaiah 55:1, ‘Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat!’ and as we read on in that chapter we see that God is again offering to freely come and be with His people, to presence Himself with them if they will turn to Him.
Jesus commends this thirst and search for God in His list of those He considers are the blessed ones on the earth. He said to the large crowd that had gathered “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” God’s plan is to completely satisfy those who come to Him hungry and thirsty.
The invitation keeps coming until, when he speaks to the woman at the well, the miracle of what God is planning comes clear. In this wonderful dialogue with the Samaritan woman He raises her curiosity with His offer of ‘living water’. Those who take and drink it He says will never thirst again!! This is because this water will spring up from somewhere inside them. God was going to make Himself permanently present with them by coming and ‘making His home with them’, John 14:23.
It is not clear when she realised that this was a ‘spiritual talk’, but we do know that the word Jesus used to describe this water springing up from within was the word hallomenou, a word not used for inanimate things, but for people, living things. He is talking about the presence of His own lifegiving Spirit living within a person.
He is saying that from now on the Life of God can be within all of us, and He seems to confirm this when He says that worship is now not going to be about going to a religious location but He says, “God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and truth, (or reality)” John 4:24. As believers we no longer have to ‘go’ to the Temple to worship, we ‘are the temple of the Holy Spirit’, I Corinthians 3:16. We now carry God into the world, and we can worship Him anywhere and everywhere.
Jesus also said ‘If any man thirst let Him come to me. Whoever believes in Me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him”. John 7:37-39. Jesus who on the cross cried out “I thirst” and was given sour wine, John 19:28, paid the price for our spiritual thirst to be quenched, He was separated from God that we might be united with Him as He gives us His own life as our spiritual water.
The final chapter in this story of water is in heaven. Here we are back to Eden. We are told that in heaven those saints in white, who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, are before God day and night and ‘never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.’ Rev 7:16. They are now living in the very presence of God, twenty four seven. Furthermore there is ‘the river of the water of life, flowing from the throne of God……. and they will see His face and His name will be on their foreheads.’ Revelation 22:17
Today let us thank God that we are among those who, because of the cross, have that spring of water welling up within. That we have His presence with us constantly, and that we can carry His presence into the world. As the water flowed out of Eden into the world, so we have rivers of living water flowing from our inmost being. Let us thank Him for the amazing privilege that this is, and for this foretaste of heaven.