I grew up on the prairies with vast stretches of land almost level and an overturned cup of blue sky above us. We knew snow and rain, but also months of sunshine and often very dry days. I had a horse and I knew a place. It was on the slight hill west of our farm, not on our land but there were no fences so I rode there now and then.
I’d discovered a depression gouged out of the flat hilltop. It contained the most marvelous thing — an artesian well that bubbled up to wash away the soil from sandstone beneath it, then ripple over the sandstone and go back under the earth from which it came. Someone had put a pipe in the flow so if you bowed on your knees and cupped your hands or laid on your belly beside it, you could drink the purest and sweetest water — especially wonderful on those hot, dry summer days.
This is the image that fills my mind when Jesus talks about living water . . .
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13–14)
It is not a river. If you are not looking for it, you will not see it. If you are not willing to lower yourself you cannot drink from it. If you do not capture the water it will return to the source from which it came.
Chambers talks about being a source for this living water, but since God does not let me in on when He is doing that, it is easier to think about those others who have been a fountain of living water for me. This is a long list that includes my first mentor, several pastors, a few friends, many authors, the Word of God of course, and of course Jesus Himself.
While Jesus wants me to be a center through which He can flow these living waters to bless others, I need Him as my center in order for that to happen. Like Chambers says, I cannot be like the Dead Sea, always taking in but never giving out. What He gives me is not just for me, but if I suppose it is and cling to my blessings, then others will not be blessed.
Corrie Ten Boom, strong Christian and holocaust survivor said, “I have learned not to hold on too tight to anything, for it hurts when God pries my fingers loose.” Nevertheless, it is the human tendency to hold tight to the good things. We are fearful of losing them, but is it not true that if God wants me to have even what I give away, He will supply more of the same?
Even in the worst of years, that well never ran dry. I’ve often wondered why the farmer who owned the field where the well was located did not put a fence around it to keep away animals and people. Or why did he not built a large sign pointing to it and put a machine in place that took money for each sip?
But he didn’t do that. It is free, but must be sought, just like the water of life offered by Jesus.