I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people. Isaiah 43:20
Jesus cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me.” John 7:37
Have you ever been really thirsty? Mouth dry. Lips cracked. Ready-to-jump-into-the-nearest-mud-puddle-and-drink-from-it-like-a-dog thirsty? I have. I was young and working outside on a hot summer day. I was so thirsty and hot that I drank my fill from a nearby hose then jumped into our motel’s newly-filled pool. The water was shockingly cold. I was given a summer cold of the worst kind from that bit of desperate hot thirst.
Jesus offers us living water. More that, Jesus promises not merely to quench the thirsty one’s thirst, he promises that those who believe in him will be a source of refreshing water to others.
“Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” – John 7:38
During their sojourn in the wilderness God provided water for his people. One time Moses struck a rock and sweet, refreshing water flowed. Another time God sweetened bitter water by instructing Moses to throw a branch into the bitter water to make it sweet.
Isaiah’s prophecy isn’t merely a recalling of those halcyon days of Moses, but looking forward to a new provision of God: the water of life (John 4). God’s gift to us is the refreshing water of life.
We cannot help but think of baptism in connection with this talk of water. Baptism is a washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5), a washing of water with the word (Ephesians 5:26). Baptism connects us with Jesus’ death and resurrection (Romans 6:1-4).
We think little of going to the faucet to get a drink; unless we go to a reverse osmosis spigot, or a designer water bottle in our refrigerator. May we not think little of the waters of baptism by which we are called to serve the King of Kings, and represent him to a world that is so thirsty it is lapping up the most rancid and caustic water-substitute so really available at every turn.