Thirst for Living Water
In John 4, we read that Jesus met a Samaritan woman at “Jacob’s well,” and asked her for a drink of water. When she questioned His behavior, He engaged her in conversation:
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” (John 4:10).
Wait a minute. Why would she ask Him for “living water”? I mean, even if she knew Jesus was the Messiah or if she had known He was God, why would she think to ask for that?
John 7:37-39 reveals the answer.
On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)
The prophet Jeremiah had this insight. God revealed to him that God alone is the source of living water. We see this in Jeremiah 2:13,
For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me—the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!
We see it again in Jeremiah 17:13,
O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who turn away from you will be disgraced. They will be buried in the dust of the earth, for they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water.
Wow! Jesus basically came straight out and told the woman in John 4, “I am God.” We know from Jeremiah that no one else can give living water. However, the poor woman missed it. Have we missed it? What is God really saying here? We know from John 7:39 that this living water is, in fact, the Holy Spirit. God wants to satisfy our thirst for His presence through the gift of His Spirit.
Some years ago, while fasting, I felt God’s leading for me to take Communion alone, just He and I. This was not like any other time I’ve participated in Holy Communion. As I sat alone in my room eating that bread, I became very aware of how thirsty I suddenly became. I then drank the grape juice, and hunger returned for the first time since starting the fast. I ate more bread. Again, I thirsted, so I drank–only to hunger again. I repeated this several times while asking the Lord, “What are You trying to show me?”
The Lord spoke to my spirit through His Spirit: Jesus is the bread, Jesus is the Word. The Bible is My Word. I want you to read my Word until you thirst for Me. Then I want you to sit in My presence until your thirst is satisfied and your hunger returns. I want you to repeat this and make it a lifestyle.
Oh God, forgive us for not seeking more of You. We need Your living water. We need Your Word, the “bread of life.” How quickly we have forgotten Your words in John 6:35:
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Lord, You want to satisfy us, but we get busy following our own plans. Help us to yield to You and let You satisfy our hunger and thirst.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
1 Samuel 18:7-9 7As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” 8Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
Jealousy, the green-eyed monster, reared its ugly head in the heart of King Saul. On the return from the battlefield, the maidens sang this song. Saul may have been a bit on edge because of Samuel’s prediction about the kingdom no longer belonging to him. This song stirred an ugly spirit up in him. He was the one they sang praise about before. Now someone else is the chief person in the song, and he is credited with more than the king! Be careful with your words of praise for men. The enemy can use them in destructive ways.
“Welcome home pastor. Your assistant did such a great job that we forgot you were gone,” a well-meaning board member says. The enemy places a wedge of competition between two people who are striving for the Kingdom of God. If one of them has an ear that will listen to the flesh, he will never be striving together again. Friendly voices have unwittingly sowed the seed of competition. Saul could never look at David the same way again.
There may have been more to it than that. It may have also been backed by the fact that Saul saw in David what he had lost. He saw the love for God and faith in God’s word that once was so real to him but now seemed so distant. He saw the humility of this young man and recognized his was gone. Those are the assets that put him on the throne. Those are the assets that make you useful to God. Don’t allow words of praise for others become that to you.
Consider: Rejoice when others pass you up in service to our King. He is the cause we fight for, not self!
Streams in the Desert – May 22
Leave It To God
“Roll on Jehovah thy way” (Ps. 37:6).
Whatever it is that presses thee, go tell the Father; put the whole matter over into His hand, and so shalt thou be freed from that dividing, perplexing care that the world is full of. When thou art either to do or suffer anything, when thou art about any purpose or business, go tell God of it, and acquaint Him with it; yes, burden Him with it, and thou hast done for matter of caring; no more care, but quiet, sweet, diligence in thy duty, and dependence on Him for the carriage of thy matters. Roll thy cares, and thyself with them, as one burden, all on thy God. –R. Leighton
Build a little fence of trust
Fill the space with loving work
And therein stay.
Look not through the sheltering bars
God will help thee bear what comes
Of joy or sorrow. –Mary Butts
We shall find it impossible to commit our way unto the Lord, unless it be a way that He approves. It is only by faith that a man can commit his way unto the Lord; if there be the slightest doubt in the heart that “our way” is not a good one, faith will refuse to have anything to do with it. This committing of our way must be a continuous, not a single act. However extraordinary and unexpected may seem to be His guidance, however near the precipice He may take you, you are not to snatch the guiding reins out of His hands. Are we willing to have all our ways submitted to God, for Him to pronounce judgment on them? There is nothing a Christian needs to be more scrutinizing about than about his confirmed habits and views. He is too apt to take for granted the Divine approbation of them. Why are some Christians so anxious, so fearful? Evidently because they have not left their way with the Lord. They took it to Him, but brought it away with them again. –Selected
Burdened for Souls
“There is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us and have surrendered us into the power of our wrongdoings.” – Isaiah 64:7 NASB
Did people really care? Isaiah wondered. Even though there were countless problems, no one cared enough to call on God.
Frank Bartleman had a similar perspective. In December 1904, he and his family moved to Pasadena, California. They had no income and were forced to live by faith. But he believed God had called him there. Within two weeks, their youngest child, Esther, died. It was a devastating moment. But he continued to serve God faithfully.
He felt God was preparing him for a new ministry. Longing “to know Him in a more real way,” he cried for God to do a mighty work. He prayed for revival. Although still filled with grief, he began to preach at a local mission.
Inspired by Isaiah 64, he felt that few believers were moved by the spiritual needs of the community or the presence of sin. But Bartleman was determined to intercede. “Greatly burdened for souls,” he preached nearly every day. He also passed out tracts and witnessed.
Soon, revival broke out in Pasadena, sweeping through Southern California. God moved, in part, because Bartleman had a burden for souls.
Today, what is God saying to you? Ask that He might give you a burden for souls. People all around you are lost. Pray that He would send His Holy Spirit to bring salvation. And give of your time and resources that He might use you to spread the Good News.