Living Water

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out,  ʻIf anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”’  Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39) (ESV)

When people look for help, they are quick to look for something to do. While it is true that they need to change many of the things they are doing, this jump to a “to do” list misses the reason they are in tough straits.

A man’s marriage disintegrates before his eyes when confronted about his addiction to pornography. The multi-year addiction can and must be stopped, but beyond this the marriage will not be saved by wooing his wife of 20 years as if they are once again in college. No amount of romanticism will fill the empty husk of their marriage.

In Jeremiah 2:13, God warns that the Israelites of the day had both rejected God as the true fount of living waters and replaced Him with broken cisterns. Without water what was or could be fertile is turned to a desert. Maladies like pornography are symptomatic of a heart without the healing waters of the Holy Spirit. The “great sin” that has finally become known means that this man has not only turned his own heart to dust, but has drained the waters of life from all around him – particularly his wife.

To rejuvenate the desert of this relationship, water must flow from his heart into hers. Where can he get this “living water”? In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul prays that the Ephesians would be strengthened to comprehend the love of Christ so that “Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith.” Later Paul equates Christ dwelling or filling their hearts with being filled with the Spirit (5:18), the precursor to walking in a newness of life. The point is that we must exercise faith for salvation and for our daily walk by believing what God has said about our newness of life in Christ.

This is why Paul prays that our faith would be strengthened such that we are rooted and grounded in love. This is a prayer we should be praying daily for ourselves and for our brothers and sisters so that we stay properly fixed on the truth of God’s boundless love for us expressed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We must believe that in Christ, we are truly clean vessels filled with His Spirit.