Sometimes it’s not until I notice others around me are drinking water, that I become acutely or even remotely aware of my own thirst.
We all have the need to drink from the Living Water, that River and Water of Life that is Christ’s Life in us. The Fountain of Life, the Well that will never run dry. Jesus said that for us who believe, out from us will flow rivers of Living water also, i.e. His Life.
“…but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
In a way, one could say that the Samaritan woman at the well, drank from Jesus’ as The Living Water when she believed into Him, and out from her flowed His rivers of Living Water to others when she went and told her village about Jesus, and many came to Him and believed into Him also.
The Psalmist says ‘My soul thirsts for You like a parched land’. Land thirsts, plants and trees thirst, birds and beasts thirst, mankind thirsts. Every living thing thirsts for water. And this is a picture of how God made us, to need Him. All of creations’ need and thirst for water is a shadow and type of the innate need God has placed inside of humanity for the Life of His Son, Jesus, who is of-course, the Tree of Life, the River of Life, the Fountain of Life, the Living Water. It is also a picture of the reality that Jesus Christ is the One Source of All True Life.
The thing about being a believer in the western world where we have suckled on man-made traditions, swallowing a camel but choking on a gnat, indulged in man-centered, individualistic Christianity, is we don’t recognize how thirsty for this Living Water we really are. We become like those the Lord chastised in the book of Jeremiah 2:13, who committed evil by forsaking the Fountain of Life for man-made cisterns that can’t hold water.
Jesus said His life (blood) was ‘poured out’ for many – as one would pour out water. We are therefore, to ‘drink’. Jesus said He was our ‘real food’ and our ‘real drink’.
Thirst is an interesting thing. Physically it alerts us to the fact that we are dehydrated. Sometimes we are so unaware of our own condition physically, that we mistake dehydration for hunger pains, and so will eat something. But instead, our body is telling us we need water. Not a cup of tea, not coffee, not sugary drinks, not milk, not food, just water.
This too, is a picture of our spiritual condition at times. Sometimes we are oblivious to the fact that we are spiritually dehydrated. We have some kind of discomfort in our spirits that we don’t understand, we feel distant from God, spiritually bored, so we try and fill ourselves up with activity, entertainment, religious practices, socializing and so on. However, all along, we are in need of Jesus Christ, the Living Water, to quench our thirst. God has made us this way. As that beaut old hymn goes “For none but Christ can satisfy “.
As believers, do we have the Living Water inside of us all the time? Yes of course. Jesus Christ lives and dwells in us. But a water well, needs to be drawn from. There’s an action, a doing, that is required on behalf of the thirsty one, to receive the water. We must actually ‘drink’. So how do we drink this Living Water, this Christ, how do we draw from this River and Fountain of Life?
Let’s get back to basics. Sadly, the basics are easily lost in our modern ‘christianity’ and we might need reminding. Both legalism and libertinism can rob the significance and power of ‘the basics’ in a believer’s life.
When one drinks in the natural sense, the first thing one does is go to the ‘source’ of the water. It might be a tap, a river, a fridge, a bottle, but one makes the move toward the source. There is an action required. Secondly, one engages in the appropriate action required to drink. This might mean getting a cup, or cupping one’s hands to hold the water. You might call this the ‘taking’ part of the action. After taking, thirdly, one must do the most very basic thing, and no-one else can do this for us. We must take the water whether it is in a cup or in our cupped hands, and put it to our lips, open our mouths and partake.
All these basic natural movements toward drinking water, are a picture of the spiritual action we take to drink of His Living Water, and it is called ‘communing with God’.
In the spiritual, we must go to the One Source of Living Water, Christ. We have to take action to go to Him. This might be drawing aside from all other distractions, finding a quiet place, or simply in our heart of hearts turning to Him in a moment. Either way, it is an active response to our spiritual thirst. The ‘taking’ part in a spiritual sense, is our intentionality in what we’re doing. We turn to the Lord in faith, we set our eyes upon Him, we open our ears to His voice, we quiet our mind and heart before Him, sit with Him and wait upon Him, meditating our thoughts upon Him, calling on His Name.
The ‘engaging’ part in a spiritual sense, is our intimacy with Him. We actually ‘drink’. We, by faith, receive His Life, into us. We are spending this time with Him, we are communing with Him, fellow-shipping with Him, loving Him, letting Him love us, giving Him our time. We put everything else aside to be with Him in this intimate way. This is drinking.
And of-course, He does the rest. He Himself is the Living Water, not our activity, but He, the person, Jesus Christ. So He does the work of quenching our thirst, refreshing our spirit, restoring our soul, strengthening us in our faith and love of Him. And we are satisfied.
One of the interesting things about God making water and the innate need in every living thing to need it, is that He didn’t make it last. Rain doesn’t last forever. Rivers dry up. Droughts come. Wells run dry. Jesus said that whoever drinks from Him, will never thirst again, He is the well that will never run dry. In light of the exhortations and encouragements throughout the old and new testaments in scripture, I believe that He meant, because He is the ‘Source’ of the Living Water. We don’t just know and accept that He is dwelling in us and that’s it. We don’t go on in passivity toward this great reality! No, God always works with us and for us, to work with Him. We still need to go to the Source regularly in order to drink of this Living Water. Christ’s Well within us will always have Living Water available to us. His is the Well that will never run dry, we will always find water there, but we must ‘go’ there and ‘draw’ from Him.
Yes, Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, but we need to keep abiding in Him. God said for us to draw near to Him, and then He will draw near to us! We work together with God, this is a two-way relationship we have entered into with God. All God’s promises in scripture are a two-way partnership. We do this, and He’ll do that. We abide and remain, obey, be true, giving up our lives for Him, lose our lives, and He will be faithful, He will grant the desires of our heart, He will make our paths straight, we will find our lives. It’s always a partnership. Of-course, He laid the foundation before creation and time, for our capacity to work with Him, and that is IN the Life of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:20 It’s no longer I who lives, but it is Christ living in me, and this life that I do live, I live by the faith of the Son of God.
But do we truly ‘abide’ in Him? Are we ‘walking’ in His life, under His reign and rule, as ones belonging only to God? Are we devoted to Him on a very personal and private individual level? Or are we living for ourselves, our own interpretation or preference of how to live a christian life?
One of the beautiful things about true body life, i.e. a community of believers devoted to Christ, and learning to live by the Lord’s indwelling life together for His purpose and glory, is that we can discover by osmosis if we are not necessarily truly drinking of this Living Water on a daily basis as an individual member. When we see others spiritually drinking of the Lord’s life around us, we can become aware that we are thirsty and we also need to ‘move’,’take’, ‘engage’, ‘commune’ in our individual personal life with the Lord.
Being part of a community of believers is only as alive as the members of that body. If the members aren’t drinking spiritually, the whole community will be thirsty. It will become like a dried up river bed which can offer no Living Water to anyone else. But when the individual members are drinking, that Living Water, the life of Christ will bubble up and flow out from their innermost beings, and corporately all will find Christ as their true drink together. He will indeed be manifested as inner springs of Living Water flowing out from them and all thirst will be gloriously quenched and hearts drawn nearer to Him.
As flesh begets flesh, so does spirit beget spirit. So does spiritual thirst beget spiritual thirst. None but Christ can satisfy. We thirst for Him all the time because He alone is our True drink, He alone satisfies.
Lord, teach us to drink of You. Show us our spiritual thirst. You lead us beside still waters and You restore our soul. You alone can satisfy.
Dear saint, if you are needing some inspiration toward turning and drinking of the Lord, I can recommend downloading this song called ‘I Thirst’ by Kathryn Mary Johnston.