Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Jordan River Headwater Waterfall, Golan Heights, Israel
Dry Falls, Nantahala National Forest, NC
We’ve all witnessed, either on television or in person, both the power and subtle peacefulness of swift roaring rivers at high noon and deep still lakes at dawn. Even so, an old Portuguese proverb warns us to beware of silent dogs and still water! Frozen water can be highly deceptive as well if you ask those who have literally skated on thin ice or oceanic ship captains who have navigated around menacing icebergs of the planet’s frozen poles. If you’ve ever vainly sought out the source of a water stain on the ceiling of your living room at home, you know that water can meander along roof beams and ceiling supports for some time before finally dripping onto your ceiling. Ground water can circumvent all sorts of obstacles such as underground foundations and slowly penetrate the slightest of unprotected cracks and fissures. We must be vigilant and protect our homes from the constant threat of destructive, penetrating moisture.
And water is surprisingly heavy and destructive. A cubic yard of water weighs nearly 1,700 pounds—as much as a Smart micro car. It takes more than three million cubic yards of concrete to hold back the water behind Hoover dam. The pressure of this contained water reaches 45,000 pounds per square foot at its base. Containing the enormous power of this water enables us to generate electricity. We’ve witnessed earthen dams along the Mississippi collapsing when the mighty river floods over its banks. And we’ve stood in awe at the Grand Canyon to see how the Colorado River has carved out the gigantic rock formations over eons of time. Stones are carved into bowls merely by the constant dripping of water over time. We’re drawn to the powerful sounds of moving waves and waterfalls.
Human beings can only live for 3 minutes without air. In a harsh snowing environment, we can only survive for 3 hours. We need water beginning after 3 days or we will perish. It won’t be fun, but we can survive for 3 weeks without food. Water makes up 65% of our bodies and is obviously very essential to all life. Ecclesiastes reminds us that all streams flow into the sea but it never fills because of the continuous cycle of rains over the land. This lifeless inert earthly water only satisfies temporarily and can be destructive.
A church is built on the strong foundation of Christ from whom living water flows. Jesus offered this living water to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well so that it would dwell in her leading to eternal life. The Spirit dwelling and working in believers is like a fountain of living waters that flow out to a thirsty world. Unlike running waters that can harm a physical foundation, these living waters of God’s love strengthen the foundations of all who come into contact with them. They’re dispersed to those seeking meaning and purpose which then flow out into the community and then into all the remote corners of the world. These living waters give us hope and quench our thirst for solace and comfort and new life in a broken world.