"Life began with water. Before the first day of creation, water covered the earth—and God’s Spirit covered the water." Genesis 1:2
Life depends on water—which is another way of saying that life depends on God, since it is God who gives water. When Hagar and her son Ishmael were exiled to the desert, God showed them a well (Genesis 21:8-21). When the Israelites wandered a barren wilderness, God led them from one source of water to the next (Exodus 15:22-27). When there was none to be found, He brought water from the sun-baked rock (Exodus 17:1-7).
God used water to rescue people from oppression and injustice. The baby Moses escaped genocide among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. Years later, as he led a nation of just-freed slaves through the Red Sea, the waters crashed down behind them on 400 years of oppression. In John’s gospel, Jesus described salvation as being “born of water and the Spirit” (3:5).
It’s no surprise that water features prominently in the Bible, since all of the Bible’s stories took place in parts of the world where access to water could not be taken for granted—as in many parts of the world today, like southern Zambia.
Even a relatively short period without water exposes the extent of our fragility. Without water, flesh and blood turn to dust. For we are dust, and to dust will we return (Genesis 3:19).
But there is a hopeful answer to this sobering reality: God is the Giver and Sustainer of all things. He is our true source of refreshment. He brings life to dust. God sent Jesus to unleash streams of living water within us (John 7:37-38), just as He unleashed water from a rock in the desert. He wants people to experience fullness of life—in this world and the next.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore what it means to see Jesus as “living water,” looking at six stories from the Gospel of John. We’ll see how God invites us to be part of His thirst-quenching endeavor, sharing the gift of water with those in need, both literally and figuratively.
We are dust, and to dust we will return. But we can be renewed when we drink—and share—God’s living water.
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