The title for this posting is a quote from the poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The poem is about sailors at sea that run out of drinking water. The irony of the poem is the ship is surrounded by a whole wide ocean which they cannot drink and they slowly die.
I live in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a state that will occasionally suffer from droughts. We are in the midst of a four year drought. Many of our lakes are well below their normal levels. Some of the lakes are at 40% of normal. Recently, we have received much needed rain that is helping to fill the lakes back up. The experts think we might be out of our drought conditions within the next year. We are not the only state to suffer from water shortages. California is in the middle of a record drought and so far there is no end in sight for them. Water is critical for life. Many time, we take our water for granted especially here in the USA.
On one of our early trips to Kenya, we saw how drought effects a third world country. The water shortage had reached a critical stage while we were there. When you turned on the water tap, nothing came out. The shower stall at our hotel had a very large barrel full of water for us to use for bathing. The barrel contained a ladle. The shower process for us was to ladle water over ourselves, soap up and then repeat until you were clean. It was very difficult to wash my long hair using this process. We were lucky because we could at least afford to buy bottles of water to drink so that we were not thirsty during the trip. Local residents could not afford to buy water so many relied on what water they could find in streams. During such times disease becomes a major issue for the population because they are drinking unfiltered, untreated water. It was a horrible situation. God blessed us to be able to build a well in one such area. It provides clean drinking water to the community and also helps to cut down on disease.
Isaiah 41:17 “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.”
We also see droughts in Nepal. During the dry season, the country can experience severe water shortages. Sometimes the water shortage is so acute that the Nepal government shuts off water to homes and businesses. To help our orphans during these times, we installed a 500 liter water storage system on the roof of the home. We sometimes have to buy water to fill up the tank so they are not without. The children may still have to bath out of a bucket but at least they get clean water to use for cooking, drinking and flushing toilets.
We have learned the value of water from our mission trips. I am so thankful to God for our water and the ease with which we get it here at home. Water is a prominent feature in the Bible also.
Matthew 5:6 “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.”
The Bible mentions the word water over 4,500 times. We find water mentioned throughout the Bible. We see it from the beginning in Genesis, when God created the seas, to Revelation, when John describes the river of water that flows from the throne of God. The Bible also talks about water in many different situations. We see God providing water to the Israelite in the desert. Another time, we see God destroy the world with flood waters during the time of Noah. Many of the disciples worked on the water as fisherman. At Canaan, we see Christ turn water into wine at the wedding feast. The Bible also shows us Jesus calming the storm waters and Jesus walking on water. Jesus started His ministry here on earth by being baptized with water. And at the end of His earthly ministry, Christ’s side was pierced and water mixed with blood poured forth.
John 4:14 “But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
But no matter how much water we have, there is one thirst that will never be quenched with plain water.This kind of thirst can only be relieved by the Living Waters. We can find the Living Waters in Jesus himself. Such a thirst is quenched by accepting Christ into our lives. Christ will provide us with His living waters that will sustain us no matter what we face in life. All you have to do is ask Christ into our heart and your thirst for Living Water will be satisfied.
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”