Readings: Jeremiah 2:1-13, John 7:37-39, John 4: 1-26
Hiking a very long trail without a source of water is fatal planning. “Most shelters on the AT are situated in close proximity to a spring, and many hikers rely on the fact that if the water runs directly from the ground, it is usually safe to consume. ” (1) What options are there? Filtered systems to purify the water from tainted sources, boiling water by campfire, setting up a system to have water brought in at points on the trail, hiking with water bottles weighing you down. What if you had living water, a source that never ran dry? This is obviously a metaphor used by Jesus, but the origins of God as “the living water” date back to our old testament prophets. Jesus said in the middle of his ministry in John 7: 37-38 said “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, ‘rivers of living water will flow from within them.'”
The verse in John 38 has quotation marks as if Jesus was speaking a direct quote. Interestingly no one can find this direct quote in the old testament. But why should Jesus need to quote scripture? He was living breathing scripture. He was the Word. He still is the Word. And God is still the living water. Our Lord told Jeremiah directly in chapter 2 : 13, “They abandoned me the fountain of living water.” He is the living water. The well that never runs dry. The source that never runs out. We don’t have to preplan our trip, use a purification system, boil water. He is always accessible.
When God spoke these words to Jeremiah, He spoke of two evil things that his people had done. 1. They abandoned Him 2. They relied on a nonsustaining source, “a cracked cistern that could hold no water at all”. Cisterns during this time period were water storage areas made of limestone which often developed cracks. “Waterproofing a cistern with lime plaster became extremely popular during the period of the Kings in the Old Testament. This helped immensely with farming, especially in the hill country where there were not as many rivers and springs. Yet even the plaster coated cisterns would eventually develop cracks.” (2)
Two simple things. We can recognize our God, Jesus that walked the earth just a little over 2000 years ago, as the living water. Jesus revealed the “living water concept” to the Samarian woman as she was retrieving water from her water source . He told her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” She asks Jesus, “Where do you get that living water?” Jesus tells her, ” Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
What was the second thing God revealed to Jeremiah? Don’t rely on unsustainable sources; the metaphysical, new age practices, angel worship, any idol but Him. He is our only sustainable source, no plastering needed to our cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all.