at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Thirst and Living Water

Have you ever been thirsty? I mean really thirsty. Parched. Cotton mouth. Where it’s painful to even swallow. How about in a situation where you had no water and didn’t know where to get some? Perhaps on a hike or other adventure that was longer or hotter than expected. Think about that moment of thirst. Then think about the moment when you finally got a sip--or even a whole glass--of water. How refreshing was that water? How wonderful did it feel? To a parched mouth, water is immensely satisfying. Indeed, there is nothing quite like water to quench a thirst. This past summer, Tom and I had the opportunity to visit Iceland and drink some of the purest water on earth -- fresh glacial melt. This is water that had been frozen as ice for about 900 years -- long before the earth was so polluted by mankind. As it melts, it runs in streams through the glacier, pure, fresh, cold, and refreshing to the core.

Falljökull glacier in Iceland - best drinking water was from little streams running through the glacier

But what do you do when it's not your mouth that is thirsty? Have you ever felt a thirst in your soul? A longing for more. A feeling that life should be more than working and eating and sleeping. Or just feeling worn out, beaten down, in need of refreshment of  not just the body, but the mind or the spirit.

As we approach Christmas, I want to bring you to a story in the Bible that is centered around water and both kinds of thirst. In this passage, Jesus takes a rest from a journey beside a well. There is a Samaritan woman that arrives at the well and Jesus asks her to give him a drink. This is notable because Samaritans were hated by the Jews and they would not typically even associate with Samaritans, let alone “defile” themselves by drinking water from the same vessel as such an “unclean” person. But Jesus saw a thirst in this woman’s soul that echoed his own physical thirst and he had compassion on her. The woman was so shocked at Jesus’ request that she questioned him about it.

“Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.””
‭‭John‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Living water? What does that mean? I think this means that there is something even more satisfying than what can be drawn from a well or a river or a spring or, yes, even a glacier. Something that is also essential to life itself and indeed gives life.

Jesus goes on to explain to the woman:

“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.””
‭‭John‬ ‭4:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A water that will quench once and for all. Doesn’t that sound nice? The Samaritan woman thought so. A conversation takes place between Jesus and the woman where Jesus draws the truth out of the woman in the same way that the woman drew the water from the well.

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” - John 4:15-26

The truth was that this woman was spiritually thirsty. She was living a restless life that left her unsatisfied. While she wanted living water that would forever quench her physical thirst, Jesus offered her something more: himself -- the living water that would quench her spiritual thirst.

Geysir - as the water explodes through the earth, so the living water wells up
in each of us, bursting through every facet of our lives

Centuries before the time of Jesus, God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah about this "living water":

““My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I think we all have this spiritual thirst inside of us, but we often don't recognize it or don't really know what it is we are longing for. So we try all sorts of things to fulfill that longing. Some people run after possessions or status or careers. Some people expect total fulfillment from their kids or their families. Some run after adventure and excitement and the next wild thing. Some of those things are good, and some of them even offer a good degree of satisfaction, but it doesn't quite quench that spiritual thirst. These "cisterns" that we look to for fulfillment are broken; they cannot hold the living water that we so desperately need.

In his famed “sermon on the mount” Jesus speaks to those who are spiritually thirsty, saying:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What is it that you thirst for? If we would only send ourselves after the right thing, we would be sure to be filled. With Christmas just a few days away, I want to spend some time thinking about the gift of Jesus -- not just the baby, but the Messiah, Savior, and Living Water who rejuvenates my spirit and refreshes my soul.


This post comes as a part of a series I hope to write over the next year focused on water, stemming from a project that we are funding through charity: water to bring clean, safe water to a village in Ethiopia. This project has encouraged me to think more about water and what it means to life. We have been very impressed by the work of this organization and are excited to be a small part of the solution to the water crisis. As we think about God as the "living water" and that water becoming a spring in us that wells up into eternal life -- I think that means us living the life God meant for us to live -- a life of loving others.  As it says in the book of James:

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." - James 2:14-17

If you want to do something to help provide the basic physical needs of people around the globe, I highly encourage you to check out charity: water. I cannot think of a better Christmas gift than the gift of clean water!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!