Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday Morning Praise & Worship Message - Drink Plenty of Living Water

With most of the country experiencing record-breaking heat, all of the news programs and weather channels are saying the same thing, “Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.” When you are sick, your doctor will also remind you to drink plenty of liquids. Mothers tell their sick children the exact same thing, “Drink plenty of liquids.” Personal trainers remind their clients to drink water while exercising. When you consider just how important water is to the human body, you can see why so many people tell you the same thing. 

Much like our physical bodies, our spirits require water as well. We need to have the living water that is only provided by Jesus daily. If we do not partake of the living water, our spirits will wither and die. The water that he provides is a lot different from the water from this sinful world. If you think about the water that comes out of the faucets in your home, you know that it is processed through a water treatment facility. Even in its pure form, water in nature can easily be contaminated with microorganisms and harmful chemicals. Water needs to be boiled and treated before it can consumed. Even the cleanest, clearest water could hide bacteria and other harmful agents that can make you sick. The water we receive from Christ Jesus is always pure and untainted. It quenches our thirst and ensures that our spirits are filled to overflowing so that we, too, can share the news of that living water and its abundance with others. Let us look at John 7. Jesus, at the climax of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, declares starting with verse 37, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

Years ago, I was stuck in an airplane on a hot tarmac at an airport. In order to conserve fuel, the captain had turned off the air conditioning system in order to avoid having to delay the flight for refueling. It was a great idea at the time. Unfortunately, the temperature in the cabin became almost unbearable. The flight attendants began to pass out bottles of cold water to all of the passengers. When people are forced to endure a common hardship, they seem to come together. No one began hoarding the water or keeping it for themselves. People went out of their way to make sure that all those around them had a bottle of water and were able to drink it. I saw one man help an elderly woman open her bottle. A woman helped a mother with her small children by opening the bottles for them. When people have a chance to share something wonderful, they do it joyfully and unselfishly. The same holds true with the living water. We desire to tell all those around us about this spring of bubbly clear water that not only quenches thirst but is also refreshing and reinvigorating.

Before we discovered this spring of living water, we had no idea what it really meant to have our thirst quenched. We trudged through life just looking for something to take care of that spiritual thirst. We went from one thing to another. When we drank the other waters, we only found ourselves wanting more or even thirstier for something else. It is easy to be deceived when it comes to water. Water may look clean and pure, but it can also hide some very nasty bacteria and microorganisms. The only way for us to make sure that water is clean to drink is to treat it. That process is long and difficult and only produces warm water. It does not really taste that good on a hot summer day.

When I worked outside in the heat at home, my wife would provide me with a jug of cold water. With ice in it, the water stayed cold. After working for a while, I would stop to rest and have a drink of that water. The cold water refreshed me and I was able to continue my work. If it were really hot outside, I would pour some of it over my head to cool off or onto a bandana and wrap it around my neck. Just doing that kept me going for a while longer. I stayed cool and was able to finish my work.

Think of the woman at the well in John 4. The Samaritan woman would make a trip to a well. In most cases, wells were far from homes and people had to go to them daily to draw water. It was hard work to and it had to be done daily. When she came across Jesus sitting beside the well and he asked her for a drink of water, she was first shocked that Jesus, a Jew, even spoke to her. She was a Samaritan and Jews had nothing to do with them. Jesus explained to her about another kind of water. “10 Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.’” It is at this point that the woman becomes very interested in this living water and asks about it. Jesus replies in verse 13, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.

After she hears about this living water, she wants it more than ever. To her, the water from that well only represented the toils of a daily routine to draw from the well and carry it back to her home only to repeat that task daily with no hope of ever stopping. Jesus tells her that anyone who drinks of the living water will never be thirsty again and that it provides eternal life. 

Looking at the examples I gave earlier about the airplane on the tarmac and working on a hot summer day, you can see how the water in both situations would not quench anyone’s thirst completely. In both cases, the water was soon gone or had turned warm. The water took care of our immediate needs but we were soon thirsty again.

With the summer heatwave that many are experiencing right now across the United States, many are drinking huge amounts of water. I see lawn maintenance crews going through gallons of water each day. I see workers on road crews drinking more and more. In Georgia, I see prison work crews consuming gallon after gallon of water. As Christians, we, too, go through periods where we find ourselves in scorched places. It seems like our bodies down to our bones are dried out. We have to have that spring of water to refresh and reinvigorate ourselves. God is there to provide that water to us. In Isaiah 58, God tells us, “11 The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

When we receive His water and drink deeply of it, we certainly will be restored to health and strength and able to go on even in the most arid and dry lands. We can lower our buckets into His well of salvation with joy and know that our thirst will be quenched once and for all. 

The best illustration for how we long for His water is given in Psalm 42. The first two verses vividly describe how we long for God. “1 As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. 2 I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?” We thirst for God. Remember the movies where people are stranded in the desert? They are parched and their tongues are swollen. All they can do is think about water. We are the same way. We should always be longing for God and thinking about Him. We should always thirst for Him and desire Him. When we seek Him out, we know that our thirst will be quenched and that we can enjoy that wonderful living water that comes from the heart of the man from Galilee. Once we lower our buckets into that well of salvation, we know that will never be thirsty again and that we can stand firm in His grace.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.
~ Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

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