Monday, March 17, 2008

God as living water

In my new TNIV Reference Bible Sunday evening, I was working on Psalm 23 for our Tuesday weekly "devotions" at work, going through the bottom "topical ties" on "God as living water."

It was interesting to read the links provided, from Exodus 17:1-6 to Numbers 20:1-11 to Psalm 23:2 to Isaiah 55:1 to Jeremiah 2:13 to Jeremiah 17:13 to John 4:10-14 to John 7:37-38, ending at Revelation 21:6. May I add to this Ezekiel 47:1-12?

Especially pivotal for me in thinking on this theme is Jesus' words found in John 7:37-38:
On the last and greatest day of the Festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."
John then explains what is meant by this "living water" (verse 39):
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
We who have believed in Jesus as Savior and Lord, have received the Holy Spirit, who is the very life of God: Father, Son and Spirit. The Spirit is God's interactive, interpenetrating, interpersonal presence and enabling dynamic for us in Jesus, in this world.

Through the Holy Spirit we experience union and communion with the Triune God. As Jesus prayed, we are to be brought into the same union of Jesus and the Father, being one even as they are one. And through the Spirit we are being made holy, that is in right relationship to God and to each other, and for our work in the world. There is much more to say about the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit for us, in Jesus.

We have a deep inward craving that physical thirst and the quenching of that thirst by water only points to. The deeper longing of our hearts, of our very beings can never be satisfied by anything in this world, as wonderful as all of creation is. We were made by God for something more, something only God can satisfy.

For some of us, we have deep natural longings, that either are not satisfied at all in this world, or they are not fulfilled as we would like them to be. That can be quite destructive to us, if we try to get the natural want or perceived need, according to our feelings, satisfied in any way possible. Of course the way of the world is to get what you want in any number of illicit ways. But for us in Jesus, that way is not open, and if we go there, we'll simply have to turn around in repentance and come back. Or be left in our sins when we choose not to come back, and in that process become less and less human.

God is our living water, who alone can quench all our inner thirst. I need that water. We can have a drink by faith in Jesus. He has promised to fill us to overflowing, so that this water can flow to others.

I'm thirsty. Are you? Then let's ask God to give us a drink of this living water, of the Spirit. Let's come anew and afresh to him, in repentance and faith, confessing our sins to him, and receiving his forgiveness and cleansing. And see our hearts refreshed and renewed for the new week and God's way in Jesus, set before us.

What might you like to add here?


Anonymous said...

I think that your thoughts on the spirit are penetrating and correct. I believe also that we are called to be holy. As we are caught up in the holiness of God, we become more and more molded into a picture of the Divine. We are elected and holy as God has chosen us. Our election should naturally lead to our holiness. Consider this quote:

"The celebration of Passover rehearses the elective coming of the one God to this one people [Israel]. In an annual celebration of passover one lives the event, however far away entropic chronology might insist one is from it...It is no mean task to be a holy people, step by step in everything to depend on the freely electing God, to live a life of purity, justice, wisdom, and hospitality..."
-Craig Keen

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Coldfire for the good thoughts and quote.

I agree. We're elected to be holy, as Ephesians says. To be God's people in and for the world, drinking of the one Spirit.