Saturday 19 March 2011

Living Water

In the last post we talked of Jesus as being the Bread of Life and Hidden Manna.  Now, let's consider His promise of "Living Water":
  • John 4:13-14: [Jesus said:] “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 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 7:37-39: [Jesus said:] “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.
Although the water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, it appears that it is our relationship to Jesus that provides the means for the Spirit to be released in our hearts.  (Theologians have debated in the past whether the Spirit proceeds from the Father only, or from the Father and the Son.  I must confess that I don't know enough about the relevant arguments to say anything sensible about this issue.)

Anyway, here are some other beautiful verses from the Bible on the theme of Living Water:
  • Psalm 36:7-9: How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house.  You give them drink from your river of delights.  For with you is the fountain of life.  In your light we see light.
  • Psalm 107:9: He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
  • Jeremiah 2:13: My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own wells, broken wells that cannot hold water.
  • Matthew 5:6: [Jesus said:] “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
  • Rev 22:1: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
  • Rev 22:17: The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!”  Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
I (and many of my fellow Christians) can personally testify that there is a satisfaction in knowing Jesus and being filled with His Spirit that far exceeds anything that this world has to offer.  Indeed, before I came to know Jesus, despite all my efforts to satisfy my desires, my spirit and soul were "dying of thirst".  As Augustine said, "You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find our home in You".

Sunday 13 March 2011

Bread of Life

This time, we will be looking at the idea of Jesus being food to our souls.  First, we look at some verses from the Old Testament:
  • Deut 8:2-3: The LORD your God... humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
  • Psalm 36:7-9: How priceless is your unfailing love!  Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house.
  • Psalm 107:9: He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
  • Isaiah 55:1-2: Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
From these verses, it is clear that human beings need spiritual sustenance as well as physical.  It is also clear that our spiritual hunger can be satisfied by God alone.

Jesus quotes the above verses from Deuteronomy in Matthew 4.4.  Moreover, in John's Gospel, He says the following to the Jewish people:
  • John 6:32-52:  It is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world... I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty...  Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died.  But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Here, Jesus is saying that His death on the cross would provide the way for our spiritual hunger to be satisfied.  It fact, He seems to be saying more than that.  It seems that, somehow, we can actually feed on Him spiritually.  Once this is done, in some mysterious way, He actually dwells inside our spirits and souls.

I am convinced that the root of many addictions, such as addictions to alcohol, drugs or pornography, is a desperate spiritual hunger.  The wonderful truth is, if we truly come to know Jesus, and experience His mercy and grace, we will find a satisfaction beyong anything we could ever have dreamed.  This is my experience, and that of millions of other people.

To close, an encouraging verse from Revelation on the same theme:
  • Rev 2:17: To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.