“As the deer pants for water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” Psalm 42:1
Water. All life on Earth is sustained by this one element. It is the essence of all natural life. In the same way, Jesus is the essence of spiritual life. He is the source of nourishment for our souls.
It may not surprise you to know how often scripture acknowledges the necessity of water in daily living. Throughout the Bible, water is often symbolic of the presence, or Spirit, of God. We thirst for Him as we do water, even if we are not necessarily aware of our thirst.
If you have never experienced the presence of God in all His splendor, the only way to describe it would be to say that it’s like desert rain penetrating thirsty soil. It is long-awaited, even though the soil of our heart had forgotten it’s need. Both heart and soul are replenished by His love and faithfulness as the Spirit makes His way through the cracked surface of our being. It leaves you feeling restored and refreshed in a way that defies words. When we neglect to spend time with God, to rest in His presence, our soul becomes parched once again and not soon after we start to experience the symptoms of a dry soul – hopelessness, despair, lack of ambition, to name a few, but if we consistently seek His presence our desolate soul will flourish again. As the Bible would say, our leaf won’t wither. (Psalm 1:3)
In the Old Testament, God would sometimes withhold the rain if His people had become sinful. This is another physical reality that translates to a spiritual truth. When we are in sin we sever the Spirit of God in our lives. Not so much that He withholds Himself from us, but from our sin. God will not tolerate the presence of sin. We must choose one or the other, the presence of God or the presence of sin. If we repent, He is just and merciful to forgive and He will restore our relationship with Him.
Moving forward to the New Testament in the book of John, we find Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well as He claims to be the life giving water. This is what He says to her, “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.” Now, remember that the Spirit of God is often symbolized by water. When we come to Jesus in repentance and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior truthfully, He sends us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. It is the same Holy Spirit that seals us for eternal life. We have the very presence of God living within us at all times and He is constantly restoring and refreshing our soul. Unlike the Old Testament where the presence of God was restricted to specific places and people due to the sinfulness of man, we have the honor of having access to His Spirit at any time or place. This is all only because of the sacrifice of Jesus, it wa only by Him taking our sin for us that we are given this gift. That’s not to say we no longer need to seek out God, but our soul will never have to thirst again.
It is because of the life giving water of Jesus that we are provided with sustenance for our heart and soul. He is standing at the well now, beckoning us, come, drink deeply!