Are you like a tree planted by streams of living water? You might ask what that is or just say so what. However, this is the dominant theme of Psalm 1. This is the whole theme of the Bible. OK, tell me how you came up with that? Do you know what living water is?
“And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so” (Genesis 1:9). And He called it “very good.” In the beginning God created heaven and earth and His Spirit hovered over the waters wherein He began to create life “teeming in the waters.” He watered the whole earth and made it vibrant. Then when man disobeyed God used the same water to start over His creation with a flood. Yes, God has control of all life and death. But He is good and brings life back again. God’s Bible references water 617 times. Why? Because without it we and no created thing can live. Wells became the center of civilization around which all peoples dwelled. The biblical story unfolds around water which God controls to save His people from slavery and death. When God’s people were dying of thirst in the desert in the Exodus, God instructed Moses to strike the rock to bring water. Never mind that Moses struck the rock three times, disobeying God, that’s another story.
Throughout Leviticus and Jewish teaching, water is for purifying and is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. For King David, water was life in his continuously near death experiences with Saul. He wrote about it in his blessed psalms starting in the first psalm concerning the “blessed man.” “He is like a tree planted in streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose roots do not wither” (Psalm 1:3). Although David may not have written it, we are told the man is blessed because, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night” (v.2). David speaks of God’s magnificent creation in the oceans and our desire for its streams.
Perhaps most coveted is David’s Shepherd Psalm 23. He sets the scene of God making us to lie down in green pastures because we just do not do it willingly. Then he says. “He guides me beside the still (quiet) waters, He restores (refreshes) my soul” (Psalm 23:2). This scene of tranquility and healing is a metaphor for abundant life that God has come through His Son to deliver us into. But so often we won’t have any of it. It is God’s heart to have relationship with us and bring us to the waters of life.
Living water is God living and loving through you. Jesus said, “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 14:4). This He said to the Samaritan woman at the well regarding the source of life. God Himself is the source of life and water is a symbol of life. In our own sinful ways we are in a desert. But God wants to bring us refuge and life, saying, “Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land” (Isaiah 32:2). He will make the flowers grow and the rivers flow in our valleys if we will trust in Him and lie down beside His quiet waters. Throughout the gospels, water is the symbol of life and life eternal into which we may become baptized through God’s Holy Spirit. It is the scene in the Jordan as John baptizes Jesus into the beginning of His ministry on earth to bring us life.
In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, Jesus offers His water, “He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life” (Revelation 21:6). Come and drink!