Life-threatening. Scary. Chaotic. Dangerous. Dirty.
Is water life-threatening or life-giving?
This past Sunday, I taught a Sunday school lesson on how water can be life-threatening and also can be life-giving. Water is mentioned often in the Bible and I wanted to give the students in our youth group some ways to think about water in a spiritual context. Water is life-threatening in the sense that the sea and “abyss” are dangerous, deep, and can cause havoc and destruction when storms or tsunamis come. Additionally, water is life-threatening to those in the world that don’t have access to clean water (1 in 10 in the world) as 700,000 children die every year due to to unsafe water/poor sanitation (http://tap.unicefusa.org/)
However, water is life-giving to those that have it, and also provides life spiritually-speaking. In Psalm 23, water is described as restoring our soul. In Psalm 42, our soul is called to pant for God as a deer pants for streams of water. Proverbs 18:4 says “the words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook,” challenging us to think about the quality of words that flow out of our mouths. Are our words life-threatening or life-giving? In Isaiah 43, the promise from God is that “when you pass through the waters, I will be with you,” assuring us when the seas of life are raging, deep, scary, and stormy that God will be with us.
(Photo credit to Tom Gable)
It would be completely ignorant to not acknowledge the significance the waters of baptism have to do in the lives of Christians. Baptism is a visible sign and seal of the invisible and covenantal grace of God to forgive our sins and welcome us into the family of God. Baptism represents that we have been cleansed in Christ’s blood, buried with him in death so we may rise with him and walk in newness of life. For those that practice infant baptism, the emphasis is on God’s promise towards us where believer baptism emphasizes the believer’s promises towards God. Through baptism, Christ calls us to a new obedience: to love and trust God completely.
Spiritually speaking, water provides life. Jesus Christ, in the gospel of John chapter four and chapter seven talks about “living water,” which only he can provide: “if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). Psalm 1 says “blessed is the one…who is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”
(Photo Credit Tom Gable)
In reference to water, the challenges for us as Christians are:
1. How are we relying on Jesus to sustain us and give us life? (Psalm 42)
2. Who or what is “flowing into us?” Is it Christ? Christian friends? The Bible? Or is it negative influences?
2. How can we be “rivers of living water” to other people? (John 7)
3. Do the words that flow out of us breathe life into others? (Proverbs 18)
4. How are we prospering and bearing fruit for Christ? (Psalm 1)
Perhaps I need to drink more water. Literally. I enjoy coffee, pop and gatorade way more than drinking water. Maybe I shouldn’t take the fact that I can drink clean water from the faucet anytime I want (unlike 768 million other people in the world). Here’s to the challenge of literally drinking more water and spiritually relying more on the living water of Christ.