John 7:37, 38 (NLT)
On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “If you are thirsty, come to me! 38 If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within.”
A youth hostel in Jerusalem was my home during a college study program. I quickly learned about cisterns in arid climates like Israel. The little rain that fell was collected by a system of gutters which channels the runoff into a water storage unit dug into the ground directly beneath my room. This stagnant water supposedly served many purposes, but unfortunately only one affected me: mosquitoes. I was swollen from head to toe from their bites.
Cistern water is motionless and stagnant compared to spring water. And yet we are often swayed to drink from cistern waters. God warns us through his prophet, Jeremiah: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” You’ve heard the expression, “That won’t hold water.” Cistern waters don’t satisfy. Our culture is full of broken cisterns. We think if we could just have that relationship, promotion, friendship, possession — we then would be satisfied. I have drunk, and still sip from, cistern waters, thinking that this is just what I need and want, only to be frustrated. The tragedy is that you and I still thirst for things which deceptively quench our thirst. It’s like a child who tries to satisfy hunger with candy. The hunger temporarily subsides but isn’t quenched.
My deep thirst for significance, meaning and spiritual reality can only be found in living waters. The invitation is to come and drink. Thirst is a wonderful thing! Thirst leads us to living waters. Have you tasted living waters? Are you dissatisfied enough with your cistern waters? What water will you drink of today? Receive the satisfying and life-giving water of God’s Spirit.
Thank you for the thirst you created in me that can only be quenched by your living presence.
Dialog discuss: Who am I to do anything? Who should be doing something?
Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all sickness and disease and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Many people in the developing world walk more than three hours every day to fetch water which is likely to make them sick. 42,000 deaths occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation, 90% are children under 5 years old.