I am always amazed when I think about a bubbling stream or a mountain creek. I find the sound so soothing; yet this same soothing water can support life, and when moving fast enough, it can produce enough power to run vast mills, generate electricity and carry objects for incredible distances at incredible speeds.
The Bible often refers to God as
being "living water". Jesus makes this reference when speaking to the
woman at the well: "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks
you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you
living water." (John 4:10 NLT).
In the book of Revelation, we
are told that this living water flows from the throne of God: "Then the
angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal,
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb." (Rev. 21:1 NLT).
Ezekiel expands on this to show us that this living water that flows
from God's throne becomes deeper and broader the farther it goes: "The
man brought me outside the wall ...There I could see the water flowing out
through the south side of the east gateway. Measuring as he went, he
took me along the stream for 1,750 feet and then led me across. The
water was up to my ankles. He measured off another 1,750 feet and led me
across again. This time the water was up to my knees. After another
1,750 feet, it was up to my waist. Then he measured another 1,750 feet,
and the river was too deep to walk across. It was deep enough to swim
in, but too deep to walk through." (Ezekiel 47:3-5 NLT).
According to Ezekiel, this living water brings life to dead places: "I
was surprised by the sight of many trees growing on both sides of the
river. Then he said to me, 'This river flows east through the desert
into the valley of the Dead Sea. The waters of this stream will make the
salty waters of the Dead Sea fresh and pure. There will be swarms of
living things wherever the water of this river flows. Fish will abound
in the Dead Sea, for its waters will become fresh. Life will flourish
wherever this water flows.'" (Ezekiel 47:6-9 NLT).
not all water is "living". We have all also experienced the quiet pools
of water. These may be serenely beautiful, but they have no power, no
propulsion, no soothing sounds, and at least here in Canada, they are
havens for mass breeding of mosquitos. And if that pool of water does
not have an outlet, it tends to stagnate to the point that it cannot
As you contrast these two bodies of water, the
flowing water is constantly giving. It gives sound, it gives power, it
gives propulsion, it soothes and calms the spirit. The quiet pool, on
the other hand, primarily acts as a place to hold water.
interesting to note that God doesn't ever compare Himself to a quiet
pool. In fact, idolatry is compared to a cistern—a place to hold water:
"...they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water
at all!" (Jeremiah 2:13b NLT). In other words, when we pursue something
other than the living God, we are abandoning the fountain of living
Jeremiah 2:13a) that does nothing but give unconditionally,
for something that only takes and as such, cannot support life.
In the days of Jeremiah, idols were pretty easy to identify. They were
made of wood and stone, and people bowed down to them, brought them
sacrifices and openly worshipped them. Idols still abound, but they are
not quite so overt in our day and age. Our idols tend to be innocent
looking things like our jobs, certain relationships, control, schedules,
etc. Basically, our idols are anything that can occupy our attention and
keep us from depending upon God.
Just like idols in Jeremiahs
day could be compared to cisterns, receptacles of water and broken ones
at that, the "idols" that we worship in our day are also self-serving,
taking continually and never giving. While we pursue our careers, while
we allow our spouses to be our primary focus, while we put forth all our
efforts to be in control at all times, we are only feeding a "broken
cistern". We will never be able to give to others, we will never even be
able to rejoice in the waters we are so trying to harbor.
Meanwhile, God calls us to abandon our broken cisterns and to come to
the springs of living water: "Anyone who believes in me may come and
drink!" (John 7:38a NLT) And when we do, that water will not just
nourish us, it will flow through us to nourish others as well: "For the
Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'"
(John 7:38 NLT).
What will it be? Stagnant pools of our own
idolatry? Or flowing waters that come from the throne of God?
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.