The Real Drought
As talk of the Cape Water Crisis and Day Zero escalates, and many are calling to prayer for God to intervene, we ask: why would God allow this drought in the first place? While we don’t know the mind of God, one reason may be to remind us (in our age of independent self-determination) what needy creatures we really are. When we gather with the rest of Cape Town at water collection points then we will realize that all of us, from the richest to the poorest, depend on our environment to give us the water we need for life – that we’re all really as helpless and dependent as each other when it comes down to our basic human needs.
What many people fail to realize is that our spiritual condition is much the same. Jesus revealed an important truth about us in a conversation he had with a woman who had come to a water collection point in a dry, dusty middle-eastern town (remember: for most of human history people collected water from collection points – I’m sure we can manage!). When we read their conversation in John chapter 4, we discover a different type of drought – a spiritual drought that we experience every day. Jesus shows that, while we rely on the environment that God gave us to meet our physical needs, we rely even more on relationship with God himself to meet our spiritual needs – a relationship that he describes as “Living Water”.
Yet we tend to deny that we have this need at all.
We feel the deep thirst… the frustration and unfulfilment of this life, but we don’t realize that a relationship with God is the only true means of fulfilling that thirst. We spend our days trying to quench that thirst in sex, money, entertainment and career but we’re never satisfied…
“Jesus said to her… “The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband…””
– John 4:18
“This is what the Lord says… My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
– Jeremiah 2:13
What are your broken cisterns that you’re looking to for the fulfilment that only God can give you? What are the first things you think about when you wake up? What are those things in your life that you need to have in order to be happy, that you’d be distraught if you were to lose? Those are the things that you really worship, no matter how many songs you sing to God at church on Sunday. Those are the things that you chase after to quench the deep thirst.
Jesus wants you to know that they won’t satisfy you. But he also wants you to know that he can. He claimed that he can give us the “Living Water” that we long for, because he came to bring us back into real relationship with God. He did this by dying on the cross – giving up his life in exchange for ours – and paying for our sins. That’s how he could offer the woman at the well this Living Water free of charge, despite her sins that he knew inside-out. He offers that same to you and I. Living Water, free of charge.
All you need to do is realize how thirsty you are, and come to Jesus to have that thirst quenched.
THE LIVING WATER CHALLENGE
I challenge you with the Living Water Challenge that has already transformed my own devotional life. The challenge is this: every time that you go to the tap to pour a glass of water or the fridge to get a drink, or (as could happen) stand at a water collection point to get your allocated 25 litres for the day, in that moment stop and remember the deeper spiritual thirst you have and take a minute to pray or to read something from the bible to pursue relationship with God, because that is the relationship Jesus died to give you so that you may never go thirsty again.
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.”
– Isaiah 55: 1-3