A water fountain in the park was a favorite destination of the youngsters that played there. On a hot, dry day, you might hear one of the children say, “I’m dying of thirst!” Then he or she would run to the fountain and drink deeply until full. With thirst quenched, they would return to play with their friends.
People have a thirst for satisfaction and seek refreshment in many ways. Often they are disappointed. What they need, only the Lord can provide, a lasting fountain of living water which wells up inside. As incredible as that sounds, it’s the same “born again” necessity of new life which Jesus revealed to old Nicodemus (John 3), God’s blessings in Baptism. It’s the same refreshment which Jesus spoke about during Sukkot or Tabernacles, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as 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).
Water makes Earth unique among the planets and stars. Astronauts marvel at our blue orb set against the vacuum of blackest space. NASA sends probes deep into the heavens in search of any evidence of life, including water. Jupiter’s large moons Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are covered by ice. Saturn’s small moon Enceladus has liquid geysers. Our home in the cosmos is the Lord’s Creation, an oasis amidst the cold, gaseous or rocky terrain of distant planets. Earth is the place where man was given life and the abundance of resources, like water, with which to thrive and prosper. It is also the place where evil sought dominance, bringing discord,sin and death. Amidst the oceans, rivers, lakes and streams of earth, there are deserts and barren wastelands of scorching heat, where dry, lifeless conditions exist. We have such places in our lives which we would rather avoid than dwell there: hurt feelings, broken relationships, sad memories. As dark and devoid of life as is space, God brought life to abound here and came to provide us with “living water” in abundance, refreshment amidst the desserts and wastelands of our lives. This gift Jesus offered then, and glorified by His death and resurrection, offers today!
Israel in the Exodus is a good illustration. God’s covenant people were set free from bondage. And what did they do? They worshiped a golden calf, rebelled against Moses, and refused to trust God. The Lord gave them over to the wilderness for 40 years, that they might learn to trust His Word. What He commanded in His Law would cause them to thirst. He would refresh them with the Gospel of the “living water” which is His very body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.
This Jesus proclaimed during the Feast of Tabernacles. He invites all who thirst for the refreshment He brings with His “living water” of grace and forgiveness, won for them on His cross. He has proven the validity of His atoning sacrifice by His resurrection from the dead. His invitation remains, calling us and all sinners to repentance, for all the thirsty to “come to Me and drink.” The Spirit of God, poured out on Pentecost, continues to flood parched lives with the rivers of living water Jesus provides. As He dwells in believing hearts, “rivers of living water” flow. From Christ the Fountain to our thirsting lips, He quenches our parched souls with His forgiveness. And as the Spirit flows through God’s Word, He brings refreshment to every thirsting soul.He is the fountain to which we children run when we are “dying of thirst.” He refreshes us with His bountiful goodness, the Spirit of His amazing grace.