It happened with no prior warning. We came home from some out of town errands to find the fire hydrant across the street shooting out water. Not long after that, we discovered that our own water had taken on a nasty brown hue. It didn’t look safe to drink, and indeed, shortly thereafter the town issued a boil water notice. This sort of put a damper on normal household activities. I didn’t want to wash clothes in water that had dirt in it. Same thing for dishes. There was no way I was going to give the kids a bath in brown water. And drinking it was out of the question. Even after I boiled a pot of water, there was sediment in the bottom of the pot. I resorted to filtering the water, boiling the filtered water, and then filtering it again just to be safe. As one might imagine, this was a tedious process. Doing this to get enough water for doing dishes by hand (and rinsing them!) was laborious. But the thing I noticed most was how thirsty I was without an unlimited safe water source.
Despite emergency protocol that suggests every family should have a three-day supply of drinking water on hand, I didn’t have that. We had the already-filtered water in the fridge, but that went quickly. The second day of the boil water notice, I realized this could drag on. So I dashed to the local store and bought six of the last remaining eight bottles on the shelf. Clearly the rest of the town had reacted more quickly than I had. But hey, I figured that was enough for each of us in the family to have one. That should tide us over, right? Not so much. All of a sudden, without safe tap water to drink, everyone seemed parched, like we couldn’t get enough water. On a normal day, we each might drink a glass or two of water, but now it was like we all wanted to guzzle the stuff. What in the world?
In times of drought (or just a boil water notice), water becomes a more valuable commodity. One realizes just how important water is. We use it to wash clothes, dishes, to take showers, and of course, to stay hydrated. It’s an essential part of our daily lives. Yet as critical as water is, there’s a different kind of thirst that can never be quenched by all the water on earth.
“As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” the psalmist asks in Psalm 42:1-2. I don’t know about you, but I’m not always that fervent about hearing and receiving God’s Word. Yet Jesus shows the Samaritan woman at the well what it means to have the living water He offers. “Everyone who drinks of this [physical] water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life,” He tells her in John 4:13-14. Wow. Now that’s the kind of water I want to have. And the beautiful thing is that God freely gives it to His children.
The Bible speaks frequently of living water that can quench our spiritual thirst and grant us eternal life. “To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life,” Jesus promises in Revelation 21:6. And again He offers in John 7:37-38, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” Revelation 7:16-17 declares, “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst… for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.”
Thankfully, our boil water notice has been lifted. Normal household activities have resumed. I can get a glass of water from the tap again. But only Jesus can quench my spiritual thirst. And the living water that He offers will never run out. So go ahead. Drink deeply.