It’s the Water…and Much More
By Neil Heater
Water! That refreshing liquid that thirsty men crave and dirty folks anticipate. The sound of it can soothe a tempestuous attitude and the feel of it calm a sweaty brow. This H2O of man’s need has been symbolized in literature as cleanliness and purity. In all of it’s usage it seems to demonstrate the points of mankind’s want for refreshment and being made whole. It definitely shows forth that humans need it, want it, desire it.
To the Christian it takes on even greater depth of purpose and acknowledgment. It is part of the story of where man has comes from and to what level water stands for in his spiritual journey.
Old Testament Practicality
The Old Testament uses the word “water” in various passages. It’s importance is not wasted on Israel when they were leaving the captivity of Egypt and needed the refreshment of the purifying liquid. Moses was led of the Lord to speak to the rock and the people would have their thirst quenched by water that God would bring out of the granite. But Moses was so angered at the complaining spirit of the masses that he “…raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.” (Number 20:11) Moses and Aaron lost some favor in God’s sight at this action on their part and were denied entry into the Chosen land. Moses had been obedient to the call of God’s will upon his life and obeyed in every turn of events. But in this one situation, Moses failed to respond with the same pure heart and allowed anger to over-take his actions.
Water was used in a cleansing fashion when God was grieved at the direction that mankind was going that he ventured to destroy all of his human creation. However in an act of mercy on His part, He divined a way of giving the human race another opportunity for redemption by saving a remnant of them by way of Noah. God instructed Noah to build a vessel, an ark, with specific dimensions and material that would carry Noah’s family and the walking and flying creatures of the Earth. When Noah completed his assigned task, God instructed Noah to make sure his family was on-board with the creatures and to close the door. In due time, God brought forth a deluge of water, from above and from the bowels of the Earth, to flood the entire globe. God wanted a cleansing of the iniquitous human race and He made water to be the tool of this purification. In Gen 9:15 God states, “I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”
It’s poetic importance cannot be ignored. In the first chapter of Psalms the writer equates the righteous man taking strength from water like that of a tree planted in the waters. His steadfastness in life will cause him to bring forth fruit that means something. The Shepherd’s heart is declared when in the 23rd Psalm it talks about being led by the still waters. There is peace to the man of God that seeks to follow His Will… as in there is a part of the walk that is calm and still. Like a softly flowing stream, the calm waters reflect the still life of God’s children. The rain and the seas are glory to God’s might and ways. Psalm 29:3 “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.” God’s power is personified in the literary value of water. Even King David spoke of needing God the way a deer pants after the water.
God uses water and He is supplier of water. As David understood, the Lord is refresher of man as his soul is man right through the water God supplies. And yet, a more thoughtful reflection of water comes through in the New Testament.
New Testament Necessity
The one true provider of Man’s need is in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The Christ is the Living water for the needy soul. His is a provision, a necessity as it were, that cannot be ignored for ultimate benefit.
Twice Jesus gives the narrative to His being the Living Water until eternity. To the woman at the well He says, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The woman was a creature of human knowledge and only knew of water that gave a tangible refreshing. As Jesus spoke of this “living” provision to water He was enlightening her spiritual sight to the need for the refreshing, or salvation, that only He could provide. The man of Galilee knew her heart and what was of most importance. Just as His human position needed what was in the well for His quenching, her soul needed to be revived with the gift of eternal life. Later at a festival, in the same book, Jesus tells the masses that if anyone is thirsty to come to Him and drink. The Son of God was not addressing literal water, but to drink of the “living water” He offers. Once saved, these people would have “rivers of living water” that would exemplify their lives.
Water is used as a way of showing one’s salvation into the family of God. Being baptized, or immersed into water was, and still is, the way to testify of God’s new work in the believer’s heart and life. For as Paul states in Acts 10:47′ “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have” so does each believer need to declare his or her coming to Christ by the symbolism of water baptism. Just like following in obedience to other ordinances of God, so the picture of one’s salvation should be a milestone with immersion into water.
As water is literally used to bring life to all creation, so the symbolism of it is demonstrated in foer growth in the believer. “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. “ in I Corinthians refers to how one person brings someone to Christ and another will water or disciple the new believer; so it is God that fashions the individual into Christ-likeness.
To Full Account
The brilliance and soothing attributes of water simply demonstrate how How God places so much importance upon this fluid of life. It’s symbolism does only in part show us what we need and how we are to thrive from it.
It is refreshing, it is soothing, it is purifying, it is testifying…it is water. Drink to your soul’s content.