WATER OF LIFE 6-3-18
Water of Life
June 3, 2018
Everyone knows that water is essential for physical life. The longest a human being can survive without taking in water is one week, and that is under absolute ideal conditions. Normally 3 to 4 days is the maximum.
Water is mentioned in the second verse of the Bible, even before the creation of light. The apostle Peter also mentions this in the New Testament where he says, “by God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water” (2 Peter 3:5). Life can exist in the depths of the oceans where there is no light, but life here on earth cannot exist without water.
However, God uses water in ways beyond the mere sustenance of our physical life, and the life of plants and animals. In today’s Call to Worship as well as the Children’s Message, I used words like beneath and under, part and through, lift and above, and indwell and within, in reference to water. Now, I would like to elaborate on those…
In Genesis 6 and 7 God became deeply distressed with how evil mankind had become. Only one family remained that was still faithful to God. So the Lord decided to cleanse the earth of its evil inhabitants with a flood. He told Noah to build an ark big enough to house him, his family, and enough of the animals to repopulate the earth after He totally plunged all life under water. And then the Bible says, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month - on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7:11). For forty days and nights it rained, and the earth was cleansed. The Bible says, “The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. Every living thing that moved on land perished - birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind” (Genesis 7:20-21). So as you can see, while water is essential for life, it was also used by God to end sinful life that He deemed was beyond the point of redemption. But it can also be used to purge the sinful souls of those for whom Christ died, to cleanse them of their sin present from birth, even before birth. David said in Psalm 51:5, “For I was born a sinner - yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.” The waters of baptism are compared to being buried with Christ in Colossians 2:12 and then being raised to newness of life. Being baptized by immersion truly helps one envision this, but the Bible also speaks of Christ “washing (us) with water through the Word” (Ephesians 5:28), and of “having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22). So no matter the method of baptism we employ, God uses natural water to outwardly represent cleansing our spirits with spiritual water, which is the Holy Spirit.
Our first Scripture reading (Exodus 14:10-16, 21-22) tells of how God parted the waters of the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape from slavery in Egypt. There are times in our own lives when the situation we are in might seem hopeless. When we feel trapped between drowning in our sorrows and an army of troubles that is hot on our heels, we need to remember how God rescued his people. There is no one God cannot rescue, and He will stop at nothing to deliver “those whose hearts are pure” (Psalm 73:1). With God you can pass through the waters safely, and continue your journey to the promised land.
In our second Scripture reading (Matthew 14:22-33), you heard about how Jesus walked on the water towards the boat the disciples were in. They feared the storm, the wind, and the waves. Peter wanted to walk on the water like Jesus, and Christ called him out of the boat. At first he was able, but then fear stole his faith and he began to sink. And yet, Christ rescued him and pulled him up when Peter cried out “Lord, save me!” (vs.30). We need to follow Peter’s example on both counts. First, we need to be willing to step out of the boat, out of our comfort zone, and into the storm, trusting in the Lord as we walk toward Him. And second, when our faith weakens and fear starts to set in, and we feel as though we are sinking and about to drown, we need only to cry out to God and he will pull us up.
But the greatest water is the water within, the living water, that rises up in us unto eternal life. The water that Jesus told the Samaritan woman about in John chapter 4 (vs. 7-15) and the Jews in the temple courts of Jerusalem about in our third Scripture reading from John chapter 7 (vs. 37-39). The water that is the Holy Spirit of God, who is not only our guarantee of salvation, but who gives us the power to live for God in this life. When we do not grieve God’s Holy Spirit, but instead allow Him to fully control our lives, we bring forth abundant spiritual fruit, the fruit of the Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
This water of life is also mentioned in the very last chapter of the Bible, flowing in a river in the heavenly city, as we read in Revelation 22:1-5, “Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there - no need for lamps or sun - for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.” We have that glorious hope before us! How trivial the trials of this life seem in comparison with the eternal joy that awaits us when we gather together at the river that flows with the water of life. Amen.
Closing Video: “The River” (Jordan Feliz): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bXeLrrg9Z8
The Bible talks about water -
Under, through, above, and within:
God sent a flood when all was evil,
To cleanse the world of sin.
He led Moses and the Israelites,
Through the middle of the sea,
He parted waters on either side,
So they could then be free.
Peter wanted to walk on water,
So Jesus said “Come to Me!”,
Then Peter stepped outside the boat,
And walked upon the sea.
When you put your faith in Jesus,
And love Him with all your heart,
He puts living water inside you -
His Spirit who will never part.