Living Water

Last night I was awakened at 3 a.m. by someone who didn’t feel well. Unfortunately for me that meant that I could not fall back asleep until about 6 a.m. because I was decorating our new place (that we move into in about 3-4 weeks) in my head and the decorator in my brain would not freaking shut up. So I lay there for quite a while. Eventually my mind wandered away from office arrangements and bookshelves and paint colors and into Old Testament/New Testament continuity and the centrality of Christ in all of scripture. (I know, totally normal synapse leap right?)

I couldn’t get Christ, the rock and Christ, the Living Water out of my head. Initially I was just thinking about Moses hitting the rock. While he and Aaron disobeyed God by not speaking to the rock but rather striking it, God poured forth a torrent of water for all the peoples and their livestock to drink of. It made me think of our “sin stick” with which God struck His son so that He would gush forth in upending and never ending floods of grace on those who had previously been shaking their fists at Him in fury.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I find it really helpful, when wanting to get a full-orbed Biblical perspective of a concept, to string together a series of verses throughout the Bible relating to that one theme.

Jeremiah 2:13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

We know we are empty and thirsty, but we look for anything but The Fountain gushing with life.  We would rather drink our own brackish waters in our broken cisterns.  But even in our brokenness He bursts forth to refresh us.

Numbers 20:6-13 Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him.

Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.

I Corinthians 10:1-4 For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Through our brokenness and grumbling, through our anger and bitterness, He shows Himself holy.  He floods us with His merciful forgiveness and His eternal life.  When He was struck with our sins, He showed Himself holy and made us whole.

Ezekiel 47:1-9 Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side.

Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?”

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.

I love how he says, “Son of man, have you seen this?”  It sounds like a question of wonderment (sort of like after a major earthquake when everyone says, “Did you feel that?!”  Umm… how could I not?!) The living water just keeps rising and rising and rising with no sign that it will cease until it reaches the sea and overtakes the world (Hab. 2:14 “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”)  with freshness and life.  Sounds like the opposite of a flood of judgment (aka. Noah’s flood) and very much like a flood of life and blessing through the knowledge of the glory of the Lord because the river that keeps rising flows from the temple — the place where God dwells — And we are His temple and He has made His dwelling place among us in Christ!  When did this river start rising?  When Christ, the living water, lived in faithful obedience to His Father, died in submission to His father and rose again from the dead.  John 7:37-38 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” The river of life is rising!

But we don’t just have spiritual truths about this water of life, to further make it more tangible to us, there was a personal witness to the fact that this was not only a spiritual truth but a physical one as well for when Christ was struck through, blood and water flowed.

John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.

I am overwhelmed by the glory and the splendor that is God’s word to us.  And I am being refreshed and renewed as I learn to just shut up and open my mouth and drink from Him, the Fountain of Life.

Revelation 21: 5-7And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

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4 Comments

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  1. While reading your post, I was struck with how living water doesn’t always mean earthly water, specifically thinking of how God saved Joseph from the cistern. And how its dryness allowed God’s grace to flow for years.

  2. Reading what you write makes me want to read the Bible so differently…really earnestly.

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