Are You Thirsty for Living Water? – Thirst is a basic God-given longing for water which is accompanied by a sensation of dryness in one's mouth. In the same way, spiritual thirst is a God-given longing for Jesus “the fountain of living waters” (Jer 2:13), accompanied by a sense of "dryness" in one's soul (cp Ps 42:1-2-note, Ps 63:1-note). A man can live weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Even as water is necessary for life, so too the "living water" from Jesus is necessary for life everlasting. Absence of both physical water and "living water" means suffering and sickness, dearth and death, one temporal, the other eternal! A source of fresh water sustains life in both a physical and a spiritual sense. And yet no matter how much we drink from the world's "broken cisterns" (Jer 2:13) of wealth and achievement, we only become thirstier. Seeking to satisfy our thirst with the things of this world which "is passing away" (1 Jn 2:15-17-note) is like drinking sea-water, for the more we drink, the thirstier we become. Puritan Richard Sibbes said “All earthly things are as salt water, that increaseth the appetite, but satisfieth not!” Man was made for eternity, and the things of time can never satisfy! The Rolling Stones' were right: “I can’t get no satisfaction!”… at least not from the world’s water, which is like a mirage that promises but is never able to satiate our deepest needs, for "everyone who drinks of this "water" will thirst again." (Jn 4:13-note). Thomas Brooks reminds us that "A man may have enough of the world to sink him, but he can never have enough to satisfy him." A thirst for God can only be satisfied by Christ, Who freely gives Living Water (Jn 4:10-note, John 7:38-note, Rev 7:17KJV-note). Indeed, only when Jesus is our sole Source of satisfaction, shall we experience supernatural satisfaction in our soul. "Therefore you will joyously draw water from (His) springs of salvation." (Isa 12:3-note) Is He enough for you beloved? As the Psalmist said “He has satisfied (is "enough" for) the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” (Ps 107:9-note) Augustine prayed "Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee." Spurgeon (CHS) adds that "The Lord sets us longing for Himself and then completely satisfies us with Himself. That longing leads us into solitude, separation, thirst, faintness and self-despair, and all these conduct us to prayer, faith, divine guidance, and finally to satisfying of the soul's thirst and rest (in Christ). The good hand of the Lord is to be seen in the whole process and in the divine result." And remember that if I am not satisfied with what I have (in Christ), I will never be satisfied with what I want (in the world)! In what or whom are we seeking soul satisfaction? Too often when we are spiritually thirsty, we are tempted to go everywhere except to the Source, Jesus Christ. Remember that "Jesus quenches our thirst personally, not by proxy." And the risk of not going to the Source is that “untended fires soon die and become a pile of ashes.” We need to repent and re-kindle our love for Jesus (Rev 2:4-5-note) and the best kindling is to let the living and abiding word Word of Christ dwell in us richly (1Pe 1:23-note, Col 3:16-note) and to pray about everything (Php 4:6-7-note). "The Lord wants us to come to Him, To quench our thirsty soul, For from Him flow life-giving streams, To heal and make us whole." (Sper)
Robert Browning said "I thirst for truth, but shall not reach it till I reach the source." Whether Browning ever drank from the Source, I do not know, but He was right. Scripture reveals that the Source of Truth for which all men thirst is a Person, Christ Jesus. In one of the greatest invitations in the Bible “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is THIRSTY, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’” (Jn 7:37-38-note) Ray Pritchard writes that "Jesus’ words must have shocked His hearers with their stunning simplicity for His short statement contains the essence of the Gospel message. It is centered in a Person-JESUS CHRIST. It is offered to all without restriction-IF ANYONE (cp Joel 2:32, Ro 10:13-note). It is predicated upon human need-IF ANYONE IS THIRSTY. It demands a personal response-LET HIM COME TO ME (cp Mt 11:28-note). It invites personal participation-AND DRINK (cp Mt 11:29-note).” Over and over, God offers redemption to rebellious men – “Ho! Everyone who THIRSTS, come to the WATERS… Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what DOES NOT SATISFY?” (Isa 55:1-2) “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps 34:8-note) As John Piper pithily says “Compared to His excellencies, all the world is an uncooked egg white. But the honey of heaven makes the eyes glow!" Indeed, "Blessed (spiritually satisfied independent of circumstances) are those who keep on (present tense) hungering and keep on (present tense) thirsting for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Mt 5:6-note) Spurgeon writes "if you be but willing, you are invited; therefore COME! You have no belief and no repentance. COME to Him, and He will give them to you. COME just as you are, and take ‘Freely,’ without money and without price. He gives Himself to needy ones." In the Revelation God declares "It is done (cp Jesus' cry on the Cross = "It is finished"-Jn 19:30-note). I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give to the one who THIRSTS from the spring of the WATER OF LIFE without cost." (Rev 21:6-note) And again "the Spirit and the bride say, "COME." And let the one who hears say, "COME." And let the one who is THIRSTY COME; let the one who wishes take the WATER OF LIFE without cost." (Rev 22:17-note) As Billy Graham once said "God puts no price tag on the Gift of gifts—it is free! Preachers are not salesmen, for they have nothing to sell. They are the bearers of Good News! (as are all saints)" Indeed, "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is GOOD NEWS (the Gospel) from a far country" (Proverbs 25:25). I pray all who are reading these great Gospel invitations can sing with gusto the words of Bonar’s great hymn…
I came to Jesus, and I drank,
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.
Play Michael Card's Celtic rendition
Another beautiful version by Wendy Ritchie
Are you Spiritually Depleted? Do you feel like you are sinking in a slough of despond? Perhaps you feel like David who prayed (a pattern we do well to imitate) "Deliver (save) me from the mire ("temporal trouble" - CHS), and do not let me sink." (Ps 69:14-note, cp "deliver us" in Mt 6:13-note) Mexico City is sinking according to a report stating that "So much water has been pumped out from the aquifer beneath the city to satisfy its 18 million thirsty residents that the ground is collapsing at a stunning rate," sinking 30 feet in the past century. Is a similar dynamic occurring in you, spiritually speaking? You’ve given so much to others that your energy is gone and you feel drained and depleted, as if your life is collapsing in on itself. What started as a noble venture to help thirsty people has become a journey through the desert. If this describes you beloved, recall that Jesus said, “If ANYONE thirsts, let him come (present tense - keep on coming) to Me and drink (present tense - keep on drinking). He who believes in Me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ and this He spoke concerning the Spirit.” (Jn. 7:37-39-note) And speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said "whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water (present tense = continually) springing up to eternal life." (Jn 4:14-note, John 6:35) So yes, one drink of His living water saves us forever (Heb 7:25-note), but daily drinking sustains our spiritual vitality (Mt 4:4). And so Jesus paints a picture of an indwelling, ever bubbling supply, one which produces not just a trickle but rivers (plural) of living water as the Holy Spirit flows forth from our innermost being. As Jesus explained “It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (Jn 6:63) In summary, Jesus is the Fountain of Life, His Spirit the Flow of Life, and His Word, the Word of Life (Php 2:16-note), the means of experiencing the living water, as the Spirit daily enlightens our heart and transforms our inner being into the image of Jesus from one degree of glory to another (Eph 1:18-note, 2Cor 3:18-note). Indeed, although our Christian life sometimes seems like a waterless waste, Jesus' living Word is ever able to quench our thirst in those times of spiritual declension. His trustworthy word to sinking saints is "I the Lord, am your God… open your mouth wide and I will fill it" (Ps 81:10-note), promising "I satisfy the weary (Lxx = thirsting) ones and refresh everyone who languishes (Lxx = hungers)." (Jer 31:25-note) When by faith we believe the promise that Jesus' divine power has granted to us everything necessary for life and godliness (2Pe 1:3-note), we begin to experience the Spirit's rivers of living water which are more than enough to refresh us in times of spiritual depletion. "Well of water, ever springing, Bread of life so rich and free, Untold wealth that never faileth, my Redeemer is to me." (Clara Williams)
Father, I fear that too often I drink from the stagnant, broken cisterns of this passing world, fully aware that they can never satisfy my deepest longings. Forgive me and enable me to find in Christ Alone the only "fountain of life" (Ps 36:9-note) that can quench my thirsting soul. And by Your Spirit, may Christ's life and fruit flow forth from me as rivers of living water, flowing in such a way that others may see Your Son in me and be drawn to drink of His living water. Amen
Play and ponder deeply the words of Horatius Bonar's "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say"
I heard the voice of Jesus say
"Come unto Me and rest.
Lay down Thy weary, one, lay down,
Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
So weary, worn and sad.
I found in Him a Resting Place,
And He has made me glad.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
Behold I freely give,
The living water, thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live.
I came to Jesus, and I drank,
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
I am this dark world's Light.
Look unto Me; thy morn shall rise.
And thy day be bright.
I looked to Jesus and I found,
In Him my Star, my Sun,
And in that Light of Life, I'll walk,
Tell traveling days are done.
Spiritual Drought - In 1896, Sherwood Eddy enthusiastically began his ministry as a missionary to India, but was ready to quit in less than a year for his energy was depleted and his spirit was broken. One morning, he after a sleepless night, he fell on his face crying out "Help me, O LORD my God" (Ps 109:26). God's Spirit reminded him of Jesus' promise to the woman at the well that “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become IN HIM a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (Jn. 4:14). Eddy wrote, “I resolved to stop drawing on myself so constantly and begin instead drawing on God” and from that moment on Eddy daily set aside time for prayerfully drinking from the well that never runs dry—the inexhaustible, soul-renewing wellspring of God’s soul strengthening grace in Christ Jesus (2Ti 2:1). He later wrote that “Since that day, 'the eternal God was his refuge and underneath were His everlasting arms.” (Dt 33:27) No matter how much energy or talent we have, sooner or later we discover that the well of our natural resources will run dry. But when we daily seek Christ as our fountain of living water, we are no longer dependent on drawing from our human abilities. We come to learn the great truth that when we have nothing left, Jesus is the well that never runs dry. Am I spiritually depleted? From whom am I drawing spiritual strength?
During times of spiritual depletion, when we long for a sense of the presence and power of God, we would do well to pray “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation” (Ps 85:6-7).
“Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need;
Mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.”
Are you experiencing a time of "spiritual drought?" Just as a physical drought teaches us that there is no substitute for rain, a time of spiritual dryness burns into us the truth that we cannot live without God’s renewing Spirit.
Hymn writer Daniel W. Whittle expressed his longing for spiritual revival in these words: “Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need; mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.” During times of spiritual dryness, when we long for a sense of the presence and power of God, we would do well to pray “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation” (Psalm 85:6-7).
Jn 7:37 - Our Lord said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37). The rivers of Living Water, the rivers of joy, flow out from His throne. In the Bible, water for washing is a picture of the Word of God. But water for drinking is a picture of the Spirit of God. We may drink from this hidden River. And because we drink at this River, we have the joy, the refreshment, and the empowerment of the Lord. - Wiersbe
Similarly, we must live on hidden resources. We can’t depend on the world around us or other people. When you trust Jesus as Savior, God puts an "artesian well" of Living Water within you. While the world has only broken cisterns (Jer 2:13), the Fountain of Living Water becomes a River. It is from Jesus that we get the spiritual resources we need. Are you drinking today at that River? Get your eyes off the sinking world and remember that God is your Strength.
ARE YOU DRINKING FROM A CISTERN OR A FOUNTAIN? - We all have a deep inner spiritual thirst, but too often we try to satisfy that thirst with the things of the world. We try one pursuit after another seeking that "one thing" that will satisfy our thirsty soul. We are made for eternity and the things of time can never satisfy us! Indeed, even believers are daily tempted to commit the same evil as children of Israel regarding whom the Lord declared "Be appalled, O heavens, at this… for My people have committed two evils. They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water." (Jer 2:12-13) All earthly pleasures and sensual delights are but broken cisterns that will leave our soul thirst unsatisfied. Only Jesus, the Living Water, can satisfy our thirst for God. He is not only the Fountain of all spiritual life in the new birth by faith, but ever after in our daily growth in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2Pe 3:18), a walk which is also by faith.
"There is a thirst this world can never quench: the more we drink of its pleasures, the thirstier we become. We cry out for more and more, and we are all the while being dragged down lower and lower. But there is a fountain opened to the House of David for sin and for uncleanness (Zech 13:1). Let us press up to it, and drink and live." (D. L. Moody)
Oswald Chambers "We are to be centres through which Jesus can flow as rivers of living water in blessing to everyone. Some of us are like the Dead Sea, always taking in but never giving out, because we are not rightly related to the Lord Jesus. As surely as we receive from Him, He will pour out through us, and in the measure He is not pouring out, there is a defect in our relationship to Him. Is there anything between you and Jesus Christ? Is there anything that hinders your belief in Him? If not, Jesus says, out of you will flow rivers of living water. It is not a blessing passed on, not an experience stated, but a river continually flowing. Keep at the Source, guard well your belief in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow for other lives, no dryness and no deadness. (OC)