I don’t find water to be especially tasty. I know I need water to survive, but I wouldn’t include drinking a glass of water as “bucket list” material. This all changes for me if I am very thirsty, like when I’m out for a long run. While I might opt for a refreshing frosty glass of iced tea when I’m chilling or just hanging out, after my run I am ready for water. Preferably cold, but I will drink it however it comes when I’m parched. After a long, hot run, when I’m drenched in sweat and ready to flop, please just give me the water. Think of it this way: In my time of need, I am most satisfied by that which I need the most. (Click To Tweet)
In the book of John, Jesus mentions the living water twice, and we learn that it has a connected, dual meaning:
- As Jesus is speaking to the woman at the well, He reveals where we find satisfaction for our thirsty souls.
“whoever drinks the water that I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13
Quenching the thirst. Not just for one, but for everyone. The woman that Jesus was speaking to at the well was a Samaritan, the mixed race that was hated by the Jews. This is an excellent verse related to unity… that the good news of the gospel is for everybody. Thirsting after God is like a hunger deep down inside, from the soul. If we yearn for satisfaction, eternally speaking, this is the only place to find it. Deep inside our core it lives and breathes, when we accept it. All of it. We humans need this, to be fulfilled, the same as our physical bodies need water to survive. The parallel isn’t just a coincidence, it’s a vital part of the lesson. Scratch that… it is the lesson.
And, the second instance of Jesus teaching about the living water…
- Maybe think of this as the babbling brook, or the real prosperity message.
Jesus said… “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 7:37
You know, I sort of doubt that it’s pure coincidence that certain parts of the Bible just got stuck together. This second part of the living water is also profound in regards to unity.
Jesus spoke these words at a time just prior to his arrest and persecution. I think that’s relevant for the obvious reason that He wanted the thought to be fresh, so when the Holy Spirit showed up the people would be able to grasp the connection. My Bible highlights the second meaning of living water, the presence of the Holy Spirit in all who believe. That’s the low down, part II. As the living water satisfies our soul, it’s like a breath of fresh air… we exhale with the presence of the Holy Spirit to replenish others. So the Holy Spirit lives within us when we believe, and we have the opportunity to live eternally through the same living water. Getting thirsty?
Looking closely, again, to the place this verse shows up in scripture, and how it relates to unity: people were asking questions, and there were those looking for opportunity to trip Jesus up in their own self-righteous and narrow-minded pursuit. For me, the most troubling part of this living water passage and its place in the Bible is that the people who were persecuting Jesus were religious people.
Pause here and think about oneword… “living” … in both of these passages, living rings to the tune of eternity. Our soul yearns for this, and we’re depriving a thirsty need whenever we resist quenching it. This serves as a parchment to us individually, where we most need a direct, personal relationship with Jesus… and where we may try to substitute a network of defiance to togetherness. This is, I believe, maybe the most resounding fact related to truth and parallel to our need for unity in our world today:
“Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.” C.S. Lewis (Click To Tweet)
The vibrant message here is one of submission. That’s the low down on the living water, that we get there by submitting to Him, wholeheartedly and obediently. That’s the thing about Jesus… when it comes down to the living water, it’s pretty black or white, all or nothing. There’s just no way around it. If you’re thirsty, there is fulfillment. Just head for the well, where He’s waiting. He won’t disappoint you.
Are you feeling thirsty?