You’re walking through a tough terrain. No sign of water in any direction. You packed no water but you feel confident in your ability to defy “regular” human possibility. You are above all man kind of course. Well, hours after you were so confident in your own ability, you begin to feel tired, sick, and thirsty as you navigate this foreign land. You thought you could do it but you found out rather quickly that you need water more than you had originally thought. You were supplied with a water source but you have neglected it on this quest. You don’t refill your canteen with the readily available water and you continued to press on under your own power no matter what the cost. Thickheaded? Proud? Forgetful? Ignorant? Probably all of these fit this situation. I want to explain exactly what I’m talking about (if you think this is a desert survival guide I’m sorry to disappoint) what I’m trying to look more in depth at is the journey that we as Christians take. We are in a foreign land and we suffer from pains because it is not our home. We have water, but neglect to drink it, not because it’s not given to us but because we think we can manage and flourish on our own. Well let me tell you that’s not how it works. That’s not me saying that. It’s the Bible. It’s God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit solidifying the main idea that we MUST HAVE CHRIST’S POWER REFILLING OUR SOUL, HEART, AND MIND JUST LIKE OUR PHYSICAL BODIES NEED WATER.
My knowledge of science may be lacking but in my younger athletic years I came to realize just how much water needed to be put back into my body so I wouldn’t pass out. The human body is made up of 61.8% water. It is the majority of our structure. The human body can continue to operate, all be it at a less efficient pace than normal, for up to 8 weeks. That number is staggering considering how “starved” we are if we miss one meal. Without water the number of days you can survive are lessened, all the way down to 3 to 5 days. Now you can operate without water but the research I found showed that dehydration set in after just one hour without water, and if water is the major factor of our physical makeup that would mean productivity begins to slowly decrease as organs begin to shut down. The question I’m puzzled with is fasting; how do they maintain to live while they don’t eat, don’t drink, or sometimes both? Outside source of power perhaps?
In Genesis we see that God’s first creation was Heaven then Earth; that the sea was all that spanned the entire face of the planet, but that even before light, the Spirit was hovering over the waters. (v. 1:1,2) And then in verse 6 God created the continents that we now recognize. It didn’t look like that before God made it. So water was high on God’s list to create, and one hundred percent of his newly created earth consisted of it. Maybe a sign of the creatures He was to make to occupy the earth. “let the water swarm with LIVING creatures”. Not only did God make everything perfectly for man to occupy earth but He did it so the animals could live and thrive.That’s the beginning of the beginning and water was there once God spoke it to being. But now I want to talk about the second sending of water. The living water of Jesus Christ.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry there became an uprising among the pharisees, which till the end of His life on earth was the typical story. The uprising was because Jesus had began baptizing more than John the Baptist and people were flocking to Jesus in droves.( John 4:1-3, John 6:2 ) A man went to John the Baptist in protest yet he knew he was just there to prepare the way for Jesus. They were in Aenon and the reason they were there was because there was enough WATER there to baptize. After the uprising Jesus and His disciples left for Galilee and travelled through a town in Samaria called Sychar. You see the Jews did not enjoy being in the presence of, for lack of a better word, trash. They saw the samaritans as lesser class and wicked sinners, and for the most part that is true – at one point James and John both asked Jesus if they could rain down fire from heaven over all of Samaria so they wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore, Jesus told them no and after He was crucified the ministry in Samaria was strengthened and many came to saving faith in Jesus. The later revival of Samaria wouldn’t have happened if they were given power to destroy it. When they arrived in Sychar Jesus stayed on the outskirts of town near Jacob’s well – most likely the only one in that town, so you can imagine how much traffic might come through there – while His disciples went into town to buy food. While sitting there a woman came to draw water and Jesus simply asked, “Give Me a drink”. You see, not only did the Jews feel harshly towards the Samaritans, but the Samaritans also felt harshly towards the Jews, so when she was asked by Jesus, a Jew (The King of the jews) for a drink she was put back. They began talking and finally got over the Jew/Samaritan complex when Jesus introduced the idea that He could provide her with living water. Immediately she assumed He was just another man in the town and she asked Him how she would get Him a drink without even a bucket seeing as how deep the well was. She asked Him about this living water He spoke of asking, “where do you get this living water”? She continued to doubt by asking if He is greater than Jacob. This is where it gets exciting so don’t miss His response:
13 Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”- John 4:13-14 (HCSB)
We have been given a well of water springing up forever thanks to Jesus! You don’t have to worry about carrying a spiritual canteen to make sure you stay hydrated, Jesus already does that in our lives. He says it springs out, pours out, from within him forever. That’s reassuring. I don’t have to do it on my own.
I don’t have to but often times I try. I have been given all that I could ask for and my requirements for living like Jesus have been supplied for me. So why do I try to do it on my own? I’m not the only one that struggles with this question, the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 writes that he was given a thorn of the flesh to keep him plugged in fully to God’s power. In doing so he is perceived weak, but God’s power is revealed. He was perfectly content being perceived as weak if in fact it meant that his God’s strength would be magnified, and thats exactly how it came across. If Jesus is the well of water overflowing inside us, we must surrender power to Him that we might not try to cap it or try to manage on our own. God doesn’t want us to just manage, He wants us to thrive. (Eph. 3:30, John 10:10) So now we’ve described what He gives us, but what is at stake when we neglect God’s power and try to go on our own?
I think back to the physical weaknesses that come when you don’t drink much water; starts with a minor headache, then progresses to muscle cramps, then possibly a full blown migraine, nausea, the list goes on and on. The same goes for your spiritual hydration and when you neglect to go to the source of living water daily you risk some spiritual side effects as well. The main thing that I see is the loss of hearing; you lose the discernment as to which voice is God’s voice and which is your own ambitions. You begin to see the temptation of sin become more constricting as well as the lack of desire to overcome it; therefore you begin to run further and further from God and his path for you hoping that He won’t see you until you get “back on track”. David was smart enough to know that the way to stay pure was to learn, meditate, and hide God’s truth in his heart daily. That was the way to maintain purity in life. I’d like to address a story from the Bible warning against Spiritual Dehydration.
I love some of the lesser known parables that Jesus taught His disciples. The main professions were those of strong, manly men. They were fishermen, carpenters, farmers, hunters, they were men in every sense of the word. I tend to connect with the agricultural parables, the ones about fields, grass, flowers, vines and branches. I’m – well I think- I’m a manly man. I love being outside camping, mowing, getting my hands and myself as dirty as I can until the sun sets, and parables that speak specifically in terms of outdoors I am so all over it! The Vine and the Branches. Connected to a the vine the branches flourish but once disconnected they wither, don’t produce, and ultimately are disconnected.
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.- John 15:1-7 (HCSB)
The thought of being powerless is one that is never at the forefront of our minds as humans. Even the mention of it sends our spine tingling. That is exactly the reality that Jesus is getting at; that we are unable if we don’t stay connected, that the power in Philippians 4:13 is only accomplished through Jesus and when we’re connected to His power are we made powerful. Now I’m not for one second saying that Christ bestows on us a “God like power” for us to wield in our injustice, but He has distributed the power of the Holy Spirit on each of us who are called His children (the promise Acts 1:4-8, the gift of power in Acts 2:4) This is poured out by God for His purpose so that we might be sent out; to glorify Him and bring people into His presence. We can’t accomplish His plan if we aren’t connected to Him. (Jn 15:4) But if we do remain in Him we will produce fruit, meaning new believers and producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). He is our source and perfecter. (Hebrews 12:2) He makes old things new (2 Cor 5:7, Rev 2:5) He renews strength (Isa 40:31)
He is the living water not only because He says so, even though that would be enough, but also because He remains honest to provide exactly what He says. “Apart from Me you can do nothing… in me you will produce much fruit… never will you thirst.” He gives strength to those who are weak, power to the powerless, drink to those who are thirsty. All that He asks is that we remain in Him. In Him rests all the power among the cosmos. That is in Him and we have found favor, not by anything we have done to share in this power, but all because what He has done for us through His great love for us. In this journey which we embark on over this foreign land, you can rest easily in knowing that God will give us everything that we need to make it, if we remain in the source.