Thanksgiving is a time of celebrating the bountiful blessings God has bestowed on us. Mostly we do this by cooking and eating way too much traditional food. The leftovers that were piled into the refrigerator this week were a testament to all the overeating my extended family and I indulged in.
It’s always a good thing to remember your blessings, because there are many times throughout the year when it can seem like you’re stranded in the desert, dying of thirst, longing for the simplest of blessings like a home-cooked meal, a full belly, and a nap.
There are spiritual times of hunger and thirst in our lives as well. These desert times are so important, in fact, that Jesus made it a point to talk about this during His short time on earth.
In John 4, we read that Jesus approached a Samaritan woman at a well and asked her to get Him a drink of water. She was confused, as Jesus was a Jew, and His people didn't associate with hers.
Jesus countered her earthly confusion with something even more puzzling: “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water" (John 4:10).
The woman became convinced that Jesus was just a crazy person. She replies (with air quotes and all), “You don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep! Where do You get this ‘living water’?” (John 4:11)
Jesus elaborates enigmatically in verses 13 and 14: “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again - ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”
The living water that Jesus talks about is a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, which provides us with eternal life, even when we feel spiritually bereft. Those who believe in Jesus will be given this Spirit, and they will never “thirst” (spiritually) again. Ever!
Let’s get practical for a moment, though. I believe in Jesus, and I know I have the Holy Spirit living in my heart. But I still get spiritually thirsty! All the time, in fact! So how do I know that my spring of living water is working?
The problem with us poor sinners is that we are so forgetful. We often forget about our personal spring, the weighty importance of our salvation, and even the simple blessings that we receive every day. That’s why we set time aside each year to celebrate those things.
Our springs never simply dry up. Rather, we must remember that we always have access to it, and we need to go get that living water. When you’re physically thirsty and your water bottle is empty, you don’t just complain about it - you get up, go to the sink, and get a refill. All we forgetful sinners have to do is stay tapped into our springs - and then we can stay spiritually sated!
How do we do this? We keep the simplest of commandments in our daily routines, just like we do with our yearly holidays.
The first and perhaps the easiest thing to do is to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Stay in contact with God. Even if all you have time for is a brief chat in the car. Prayer is incredibly powerful, and that communication with God keeps us on track even in the busiest of times. You can even ask God directly to help you feel filled with living water - He will be more than happy to oblige!
The next step is to give God room to communicate with you, as well. Daily devotionals are a great way to do this. You can even subscribe to email lists like the one at KLove.com to get a Bible verse in your inbox every day. To make this a little more substantial, I recommend writing each verse out by hand in a small notebook. This helps to make the Word stick in your head a little longer. Pray that God would use this speak to you throughout the day.
The next thing you can do is to stay connected at your church. Attending worship services on Sundays is great for recharging your spirit, but don’t forget to challenge yourself spiritually as well. Growth groups like the ones here at Riviera can help you dig deeper into the “meat” of spiritual issues and bring you closer to God. It can also help you build relationships with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
And finally, always be on the lookout for God’s movement in your life. He gave us the Holy Spirit as a free gift (Revelation 22:17), but it is also a tool for His kingdom work here on earth, and we must keep our eyes open for when opportunities come up.
Because in the end, the spring of living water is available to all of us. We just need to remember to turn on the faucet.
Worship & Media Director
Riviera Baptist Church