A garden enclosed
Is my sister, my spouse,
A spring shut up,
A fountain sealed.
A fountain of gardens,
A well of living waters,
And streams from Lebanon.
Song of Songs 4:12, 15 NKJV
If you are like me, when you think of living waters, you think of what Jesus said in John 7.
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' - John 7:38
However the phrase “living water” did not originate in the gospels.
The first time these words are paired in the Hebrew Scriptures is in a fairly familiar story in the life of Isaac. If you remember Isaac was becoming a very wealthy man and he had large flocks and herds.
Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them. But when Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found there a well of flowing (living) water, - Genesis 26:18-19
I know it does not say living water here, but it is the same two Hebrew words, and when I drop the phrase living water into this sentence, knowing full well that Jesus was going to equate living water to the work of the Holy Spirit…
But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. - John 7:39 NASB
… it makes me ponder this story anew.
I long for a day – and I pray it is today – when we can raise up a generation behind us who does not have to re-dig our wells, but can start in the Spirit where we have left off.
Two things are desperately needed in the Church for this to happen.
First, we must realize and recognize that the Spirit of the Living God who has given us everything we have, is the same Spirit who dwells in the next generation of believers. These young believers, no matter how young, have the same Holy Spirit dwelling in them as we do in us. We MUST pass on what we have (at least the good stuff) to those who follow us.
Next we must realize and recognize that the Spirit of the Living God that dwells in the generation that has come before us is the same Spirit who dwells in us, and be willing to receive from those who have been in the faith longer that we have. We do not have to reinvent the faith anew for each generation.
Revelation comes line upon line and precept upon precept, and if we can start where our forefathers left off, imagine how much further we could travel. If our ceiling becomes our children’s floor (to borrow a metaphor from Paul Simon) imagine how they could flourish in the faith.
This goes for our denominational differences too. I am thinking now of the strife that exists between the Charismatic folks and the non-Charismatics, or between the Calvinists and Aminians, or between seven-day creation Christians and old Earth creation Christians.
I see Christians actually trying to fill in the wells of living water from those of other backgrounds. When did you become a Philistine? [ok – I am starting to rant – but I hope you see the picture I am painting.]
Let me be clear, I want us to share only the Living Water – that which flows from the throne of the One True God. I am not suggesting we adopt an ‘any doctrine will do’ stance, but I long for the day when leaders from these various camps can stand together and find the common ground, then share the sweet living water that comes from the deep wells they have dug.
If we can begin to share the Living Water we are getting from the deep and plentiful wells God has provided, rather than defending our wells and despising others, we could grow in unity and love, and the One True Church of Jesus Christ, that church that He is building would truly flourish.
Ok – I honestly did not expect this post to go in this direction today.
Lord, I ask you for opportunities for me to share from my well, and to taste the sweet revelation from the wells of others. I pray my pride and partisan spirit would not hinder the life of Your Body today.
Thanks for coming by.
I am afraid we will have to come back to the living water again next week. I didn’t even get to the place I was expecting to start today.
Walk in blessing today.