How Many Glasses of Water Have You Drunk Today?
This has been a hot summer in most places across the country. Glasses of water have been in great demand lately. In recent days the heat has contributed to the ripe conditions for forest fires in the West, drought conditions and scorched crops in the Midwest, along with power outages and deaths due to extreme heat in the east with air conditioning on the blitz. In most places except the Pacific Northwest water was scarce. And to top it all off the annual Paul Anderson Cycling Challenge begins Saturday with a 600 mile version this year in contrast to last year’s 50th Anniversary 1500 mile trek to Omaha. (Follow the bike ride starting Saturday at: www.payhbikeride.com.) Last year the conditions were also extremely hot with some of the young men’s bike tires melting on the pavement as they crossed Southern Illinois. Talk about frying an egg on the sidewalk. In such heat, water is even more essential and treasured to avoid disaster. It not only hydrates the body, but cools and refreshes. The bikers from the Youth Home carry several bottles at all times to both drink and douse their heads, and the accompanying van transports many cases of bottled spring water. Can’t live or bike without it!
When our country spends billions to research outer space and distant planets like Mars you never hear of a search for gold or precious metals. They are always looking for signs of water etched in the surface; for water indicates the possibility of life in outer space. Water has transformed the earth into the only known habitable planet in this galaxy. For those who have lived in a desert or partial desert environment, they have seen firsthand how water causes the dry ground to blossom and come to life in glorious manifestation. Such are the contrasts drawn in Scripture between a scorched and parched landscape brought to life when the Creator and Lord of the Universe sends rain and streams of water to refresh the earth. It is this dramatic contrast which the Spirit of God uses to contrast the dry wilderness of a soul with a soul that is like a tree planted by streams of water whose leaf does not wither and whose fruit is always producing in season.
Jeremiah says, God’s people strangely prefer the brackish water in stagnant cisterns which they have carved for themselves, to the living water from inextinguishable springs. The cisterns eventually crack and what water is left seeps away, while the springs provide cool water from the deep that keeps bubbling forth day after day. You can picture from many experiences the image the Spirit paints of the physical reality of parched conditions versus cool spring water and its miraculous effects; but the spiritual contrast is oblivious to far too many who languish in the parched wilderness when the fountain of living water is close at hand. The eyes of faith must pursue exposing the personal cisterns each one has carved out for himself to substitute for the spring of living water. Jeremiah, speaking for God says, “My people have committed [these] two errors…… Does the shoe fit? Judgment needs to begin at home. What cisterns have you carved? What have you preferred for your resources to the springs of living water God offers in Christ, the fountain of life? This is best answered in the recesses of your own soul. That we have forsaken the spring and dug our own cisterns is undeniable. What you do about it is a matter of your faith.
After a long hike on a hot day this week my wife and I stopped at the top of a big red sandstone rock and surveyed the scene far below and all around us. We drank cool water we had brought with us in a bottle. Nothing could have been more refreshing in the moment. You drink water many times a day without thinking. Obviously, the moment on this hot hike was more dramatic and memorable. But just as you pray a prayer of thanksgiving before eating your daily bread, should you not think of the Fountain of Living Water every time you drink a glass or bottle of water? Consistency in this may well help you answer the question of the cisterns you have carved for yourself. Far better and more powerful to come from the Spirit bearing witness with your spirit as to what they are, than coming from anyone else. This is what it means to follow the Apostle Paul’s encouragement, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25) Now, go grab some glasses of water!
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