“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, ESV
This morning I wrote to my friend in Arizona about the devastation in central Michigan from the flooding. Where he lives in the desert, flooding is a fact of life. It seldom rains, but when it does they have fierce, violent flash floods as the water races across the parched landscape toward lower ground. The evidence of the raw power of water is visible everywhere and well understood. It is ironic that here in Michigan, where we are always surrounded by water, the power of it is not often experienced.
The land of Israel contains mountains, deserts and plains. As in the deserts of Arizona, flash flooding is well understood and part of their lives. There are many references to the threats of these floods throughout psalms, though through our mid-westerner’s eyes it may be a challenge to spot them. Consider as one example Psalm 23, where David says, “He (the LORD) leads me beside still waters”.
In Michigan, that might not seem like a big deal. A shepherd in Israel, however, needs to know how to find the still waters where the sheep can safely drink without the threat of being swept away in a flash flood. The water is necessary for life, but it is also a power to be respected at all times.
The water Jesus promised would spring forth in us is real life and power. It satisfies our spiritual thirst individual, and we are filled to overflowing for the service of others. “My cup runs over.” That flow and overflow has the power of God behind it. As the overflow of Living Water is poured out on others, we can witness the power of it. When earthly waters destroy and wash away, the Living Water flowing through us has fresh opportunity to flow back in to heal and restore.
When we open ourselves up to allow this outflow in service to others, we become part of the revelation of God’s love, grace and mercy to a broken world.