622860_the_rushPerhaps no one in the US today appreciates the value of water like those folks in West Virginia whose water source was contaminated by an industrial chemical leak. Their water, officials were careful to explain, was poisoned, so no amount of boiling or purifying would make it OK. Not for drinking, brushing your teeth, laundry, cooking, or bathing. Presumably the only thing it was good for was flushing toilets, and that’s at least something.

But think about it. What a horrific loss of a necessary element we largely take for granted. Schools closed. Hotels closed. Restaurants closed. The business area of downtown Charleston was as good as a ghost town.

The Governor issued a state of emergency, and the National Guard was called in to provide residents with water and food. All for the lack of water.

People in other countries and in other times understood the importance of water much more than does the average American living in the 21st century. We water our lawns and fill our swimming pools (yes, I know it’s winter, but I live in SoCal, so these are year round activities), with little thought about the precious commodity we are using.

Until we hear news like we did last week about thousands of people no longer able to use their water.

We’re in the midst of a drought here in SoCal–we had just under four inches of rain for the entire meteorological year. And this year (which started in July) isn’t shaping up to be any better.

So the issue of what it’s like to be without usable water is one we should pay attention to.

Perhaps the physical shortage of something so necessary can help us understand more clearly the metaphor God used for Himself–the Fountain of Living Water.

Here are a few passages:

But 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. 2:11)

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.” (John 4:10)

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38)

Psalm 1 creates a picture of a flourishing tree planted by “streams of water” which bears fruit. And of course we know that a lack of water is the chief characteristic of deserts.

I’ve seen drought conditions before. When I was growing up there was a year when the stream that runs by our cabin in the mountains of Colorado dried up. That was the source of our water. Now it was a muddy ditch with pools of stagnant water attracting swarms of mosquitoes. It wasn’t a pretty place to be. What had been a relatively easy task of carrying water up to the cabin now became a search for a new source of water and an arduous job of hauling it up hill. But we still had some water.

What would it be like without any?

The most amazing truth is that God will bring water to the desert.

“The beasts of the field will glorify Me,
The jackals and the ostriches,
Because I have given waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My chosen people.” (Isaiah 43:20)

Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion;
He will comfort all her waste places.
And her wilderness He will make like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the LORD;
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
Thanksgiving and sound of a melody. (Isaiah 51:3)

But I think the people who don’t know they have no water will not look for Him to supply it.

How about those people in West Virginia–before they could receive the water the National Guard brought in, they first had to admit that the water coming out of their kitchen tap was not usable. They had no source of water they could use unless someone else provided it for them.

So too are we all in need of spiritual water but to receive what we need, we first have to be aware of our need.

Published in: on January 13, 2014 at 6:48 pm  Comments (2)  
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