Sometimes when we read things in the bible, it’s hard to grasp the rich Hebrew/Greek meaning. The past couple of weeks I have been reading a lot about “living water.” The researcher in me began to dig a little deeper. When God was bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land, he brought them to an area where rain only fell a few months out of the year. For the remaining months, they would depend on stagnant water or cisterns in the ground. When it did finally rain, it was like a miraculous gift from God.
So, why would God lead his people to a land such as this? The answer: because he needed them to depend on him and know where their help came from. The Israelites had just come from Egypt. Rain barely fell in Egypt either, but it different from Canaan. Here’s why. In Egypt, the crops were watered by the Nile and by human effort (handwatering). So, they went from a place of surviving on human effort to a place with complete dependence upon God.
So many times, when the Israelites had turned away from God, he would cause a drought, which would in turn cause famine in the land. They would turn to other gods, which were no Gods at all.
Jeremiah 2:13 “For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me-the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!
Because of Israel’s disobedience, they became slaves, their enemies roared against them, their territory was destroyed.
Why does this matter today? Take a lesson from the Israelites. Just as God delivered them from a land that depended upon human effort, he wants to deliver you from a place where you have been depending on human effort. You want to forgive, but your pride won’t let you. You want God to promote you, but you quit everything you start. You want to be a lender, but you keep spending money on everything you want…because you work too hard not to spend your own money (and the money ain’t even yours!). Well maybe, just maybe, if you depended on God with your issue, you wouldn’t be in the same situation you were in 10 years ago! 5 years ago! Yes, sometimes God causes us to wait, but if the children of Israel had depended on God completely, they would have gotten to the promised land in 11 days and not 40 years.
Notice that the new place was called the promised land. The promised land would be a place where the Israelites needed to completely depend on God. When the Israelites depended on him, their enemies dared not come against them. When they didn’t depend on him, they were often removed from that place, taken into captivity. God wants to deliver you to your promised land, but he’s saying, he needs you to completely depend on him. He needs you to remember where your help comes from. When we depend on human effort, we see much of what the Israelites saw. We become slaves to the wrong master, our enemy roars against us and our “territory” is invaded, sometimes destroyed. God wants to be that “living water” in our lives. Psalms 1:3 says “And they shall be like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do! God wants us to be this way. A tree planted by the riverbank depends on the river to survive. Just like the tree, we need to plant ourselves close to God and seek him for any and everything! He is the one who gives us life.
So today, where is your help coming from? Is it from the one who promises living water or is it from yourself? I know you get tired carrying those buckets trying to water a dying situation. Instead, let God do the work. Rely on him and watch everything change!