The land is parched. We are withered and in desperate need of water but there is no end to the drought in site, relief seems impossible. We turn this way and that, looking for water. But what little we can find is tainted. What life we see is sickly, gasping and yellow. Rainbows slide across the oily surface of the water, mocking the promise in the skies after a rain. There is a whiff of sulfur in the air.
We were made for more than this stunted life.
We were made to flourish.
Water, pure water, is life. It nourishes and renews, cleanses and invigorates. It allows us to become what we were created to be, offering shade and sustenance, beauty and fruit.
The Scriptures show us that our parched existence is not new. The real issue for us is how do we get the water we need to live and then what will we look like when we flourish? We instinctively seek water. We seek to grow. There is something about being alive, being human, that seeks this. But left to our own devices we wander away from the source of pure water we need. We seek out our own, inferior, sources. They sustain for a while, but barely. We become sickly, stunted, and twisted, so turned in on ourselves that we can no longer imagine what it is we are supposed to be.
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Jeremiah 2:13 NIV
God is the source of all life, the source of the water we need. In other words, God not only grants life, he is life. From Genesis to Revelation he is the living God.
And he does not keep that life to himself. God wants his water of life to go out among his people, to nourish and refresh. He promises this water to his people.
This is the word of the Lord
your Maker, the one who formed you from the womb:
He will help you.
Do not fear, Jacob my servant,
Jeshurun[“upright one”] whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants
and my blessing on your offspring.
They will sprout among the grass
like poplars by flowing streams.
This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’;
another will use the name of Jacob;
still another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
and take on the name of Israel.”
Isaiah 44:2-5 CSB
When Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well, he says
“[T]hose who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:14 NLT
In Jesus the springs of living water become accessible to any who are willing to give up the stagnant, reeking pools they have been drinking from.
On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”
John 7:37-38 NLT
The very water that Jesus offers wells up within, becomes a spring that spills over to others, showing them the true source of life and health. And the desert will bloom.