You need water to live. Each day your body required high quality H2O to continue its existence in this world. Yet that cool and refreshing living water can only do so much to bring life and restoration to the core of our being. I can flavor that water with anything I want, tea, coffee, kool-aid, tang, those weird little squares with syrup in them but no matter how I flavor that water it is still water. It can support my natural existence but it has no effect on my spiritual condition or my existence in eternity.
That is where we need something greater than H20, we need life, not just a glimmer of life but its very source, Jesus. Throughout the Bible we see this picture of “living water” appear in both the New and Old Testaments but it isn’t until the Gospel of John that we realize what God was talking about to the prophets. In John 4 Jesus in His conversation with the Samaritan woman comments on how the living water He possesses was far superior to the one beneath the well He was sitting beside. Let’s take a look at what He says:
John 4:10-14 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
It becomes obvious to us that Jesus is talking about something far greater than the water that was sitting at the bottom of that well. He is speaking about a source of life which can lead not to more natural life but can lead us to eternal life. Not a cup of water which flows out of us a few hours later, but the very power of God’s life and power in us which brings about a change that lasts far longer than a few hours. This is just one of the many instances where Jesus equates His life, purpose and reason for being on Earth is that those created in God’s image can once again receive life rather than the punishment of death through/by sin. Not long after the encounter in Samaria Jesus speaks of being the bread of life (living manna) which is once again available for God’s people.
John 6:47-51 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes [j]in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
This is the core purpose for why Jesus came into our world, to bring an end to the domination of sin, to break the power of Satan and to restore covenant relationship between the Creator and the created. Jesus came to bring redemption for our sins, to bring adopting for us into His family and to provide a means by which the futility of creation and life can be turned back into its original purpose.
Digging Beneath the Ice For Living Water
To me it feels at times that God has frozen His living water that is available to us in our modern world. As if a great winter has come upon us and the living water of Jesus is trapped beneath several feet of ice. We can walk and skate on that ice, build igloo’s and snow forts but we are unable to access the waters beneath with our bear hands. The water continues to flow beneath the ice, and those who are determined are still able partake of it will forcefully breaking through the ice, wither with a shovel, a drill, an augur or even with fire.
These people feel to be in the minority while most others will simply pass over it and wonder what it would be like to partake of that living water that supposedly flowed in the land long ago. So to can we take for granted what Jesus has not only done in the past but what He is offering to us right now. Have we learned to be accustomed to the winter and its snow, forts, ice and covering that we forgot what the land used to look like, full of greenery and life?
Do enough of us in the church today want to learn to dig through the ice so God can provide His living water to not only them but all of the people who are searching for fresh living water? No matter how much we sing or confess that we want the living water of Christ I fear that too many people have grown accustomed to drinking thawed snow picked up from the ground. Water which will not sustain them, and it is water which will only furthers their coldness of heart.
In this proverbial winter we have to learn how to seek after Jesus and watch for the places where He walks upon the ice and creates pools and openings for the people to receive once again His living water. I’m not trying to be super-spiritual here I am talking about following His words, following His presence and following where He is moving in our culture and world. To take in the living water of Christ we first have to be aware of where He is and what He is offering to us.
At the same time when we do find Him we have to remain closely behind Him because after He passes by those proverbial pools and openings they will gradually begin to freeze back over. Leaving only a memory of what was, this is not nonsense it is actually the picture of the cycle of revival in action. The hearts of the people were cold, so Jesus came and brought His presence and thawed their hardness. The people came and partook of His offer of eternal life, then Jesus moved on from that outpouring to somewhere else. When that happened the people had two choices either continue to follow after Jesus or remain where they were before and be left with nothing else but a memory of the time God came to town.
That is why we must continually follow Him as He goes about opening up new pools (opportunities for ministry, revival, miracles and so on), or else you could find yourself left without His water yourself. Those who are over taken by the winter of this world, those who saw life but became frozen once again.
The 5 R’s of the Living Water of Christ
Now for those who are searching for the living waters that Jesus has come to give us I want you to pay attention to what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4:10, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him.” Look closely at what Jesus is saying here, He is stating that “if only she knew who I was, she would ask the right question. That is the beginning of our journey, it is the beginning to understanding God’s living water and it is the beginning to a life in eternity.
There are five things we can learn from Jesus as to what we must do to not only find the living water of Christ in our lives but also how to live out that new life: Revelation, Repentance, Relationship, Restoration and Revival.
Begin by seeing Jesus as He really is then and only then can we accept what He is offering to us. If Jesus is the Son of God who was crucified for our sins, raised from the dead and is now on the throne in Heaven then it would be foolish not to receive what He is offering to us. We need a revelation of the identity of Christ in our lives if we are ever to truly live, because any hope of life in our own lives is rooted and grounded in the eternal life which Jesus is comprised of.
John 7:37-38 37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
When we experience the revelation of who Jesus is we are left with two choices we can either accept His identity and offer and receive forgiveness or we can harden our heart like ice and continue on living our life without Him. For those who choose the life Jesus is offering us we now need to come into alignment with Jesus’s commands, expectations and desires for our lives. We take our revelation of who He is and allow Him to redeem and forgive us. But that redemption comes at a price we are to transform our lives so we no longer do the things or think in the same ways that we did before our great revelation of who Jesus is and what He did for us. That is what true repentance is, its not just saying your sorry then doing it again a week later. Repentance is when you make a fundamental change to your life, it is when you go the exact opposite direction than you were before. So you don’t end up in a destination of destruction, but your course has been altered to a destination of life.
Jeremiah 2:13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. (see also Jeremiah 17:13)
After repentance comes our inclusion into the New Covenant, we have been made a child of God and a joint-heir with Jesus. Our new life begins and we are able to pray and have a real two-way fellowship with God our Creator. It is a relationship that is grounded in word and spirit, that is to say it is grounded in the Scriptures and in our everyday conversations and experiences with God. When we don’t read and study the Bible our spiritual growth becomes stunted, and we either remain at the same level indefinitely or we regress into what we once were. Just like a river where as long as the water is moving down stream it can support life, but if fresh water is cut off or if there is no were to empty itself it becomes stagnant and the life within slowly dies (Luke 4:4). The same can be said about our spiritual life with God because without faith, prayer, experience and conversation with God all of our Bible knowledge becomes hollow and lifeless.
Hebrews 10:19-22 “19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Now that we are followers of Jesus, we have been redeemed with evidence of repentance and our relationship is alive with God the process of restoration begins within us. Now God works to undo the damage done by Adam, Eve and Satan by restoring the original image God placed of Himself in us. Here at this juncture we become like Christ, we begin to love, think and act like He did, not as some sort of clone or zombie but we see the world through His eyes and begin to walk our or lives wearing His shoes.
It is the process of sanctification spoken of by Paul (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4), where we go through the process of daily refinement whereby we have the rust and barnacles of this world removed and we are polished and restored with the nature and conscience of God. This is the time where we begin to look beyond ourselves to see how we can serve God and be a blessing to others. It is the time when our priorities are challenged, our desires are refined and the truth of God’s opinion of us comes to light.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Revelation 7:16-17 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Here we are awakened and released to go and tell others about Jesus. The great commission and the call to discipleship begins to materialize in our lives as we look to tell others of the original revelation we had about Jesus and how that has changed our own lives. We go from the place of spiritual and scriptural milk and move on to the meat, the things which not just sustain but cause us to help others as well.
Zechariah 14:8, Ezekiel 47:7-12 and Revelation 22:1-5 speak of the river of living water which brings life back to the land and how the trees grow from it to bring forth fruit each month for healing of people (fish of the sea) and the nations. It is our duty through the Great Commission and the call to Discipleship to spread the revelation of Jesus where ever we are so that as many people as possible can enjoy the benefits of those prophetic trees, that they receive the endless life of Christ.
I am talking about more than the type of revival I mentioned earlier where we go from bareness to God’s presence appearing to awakening to monument building to slumber to bareness once again. I am talking about us coming to life, it is the passing from death to life that we experience when we partake of the living water Jesus offers all people from all tribes and nations. It is the life that comes through the power of the cross and resurrection, that life which transforms us and brings us to the point where we can walk around this world in the love, power and authority of Jesus.
Ephesians 3:20-21 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Come To The Waters
Jesus represents the living water which brings us life, before we had a revelation or access to Jesus we were all like lone pools scattered throughout a field. Each one of us contained water but because there was no fresh water coming in we either became stagnant or there was so little water that it all sunk into the ground leaving nothing but an impression in the soil. When Jesus comes it is like He is digging a trench to connect all of these pools into the great river of His love and presence. Not that we are emptied because of this but rather we are ensured continually water to keep us alive and able to support life.
Compared to Jesus our life is a stagnant substance, one that needs revitalization, cleansing and renewal. Hope is not lost because Jesus longs to come into our lives and bring forgiveness, healing, love, friendship and purpose (Job 33:4) to us.
Jesus brings a purpose which transcends our jobs or occupation and rather has to do with our reason for being on this planet in the first place. Not everyone is called to full-time ministry, not everyone is called to the arts, or office work, or trade work, or IT or what ever else you can come up with. Our purpose is rooted in our relationship with God and how we bring about more of Him, in this world. Life is about so much more than preaching, our daily lives are the greatest witnesses of the gospel there is. We need living and active believers who understand their purpose in every walk of life, in every social and economic bracket and in every type of work. So there are no excuses why anyone and everyone cannot have the opportunity to experience the great revelation of who Jesus is.
Isaiah 12:2-5 2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’” 3 Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted. 5 Sing to the Lord, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth.
Do you want “the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” present in your life? If you do want that then you have to ask the question “who is it who says to you” these things? When you know that answer then you can ask Him for some of that water, the water of eternal life, the water of change, restoration, transformation and adoption.
John 11:25-26 “25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
To go deeper in your journey with Christ check out my new book Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21st Century Christian beliefs which is now on sale. Available in paperback (Canada or USA) and eBook! Get your copy today and discover not just your purpose but how you can build the Kingdom of God here on the Earth
The Hunt For Living Water Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.