THIRSTING FOR LIVING WATER
As a young man, a teenager, really……Jonathan Edwards set down on paper a series of thoughts and practices to help cultivate his growth in grace. Edwards then re-read this list at least once a week to keep his mind focused and renewed. The result was that he became a man of humble godliness, who was to become a significant spark used to ignite one of the greatest revivals known to history. A young Jonathan Edwards said when he wrote his 70 resolutions “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.” One of the 70 resolutions I want to look at is his 28th resolution which reads “Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.”
As we approach a New Year, a new chapter in one’s Christian life. I want to start out, and invite you, this year by applying this resolution to your live all the more as you grow in grace. Why? Because the Scriptures are filled with the richness and glory of God. Julie and I have a list of books that we are going to read this year, this is something we found on Tim Challies blog.
His book reading plan goes like this….
The Light Reader. This plan has 13 books which sets a pace of 1 book every 4 weeks.
The Avid Reader. The Avid plan adds another 13 books which increases the pace to 1 book every 2 weeks.
The Committed Reader. This plan adds a further 26 books, bringing the total to 52, or 1 book every week.
The Obsessed Reader. The Obsessed plan doubles the total to 104 books which sets a demanding pace of 2 books every week.
With my study load of Scripture & sermon prep and so on; I’m going to start out in the “Light Reader” category. I want dig into those books to a have a more rounded understanding; so that I can study and learn the Scriptures better, and in turn convey God’s truth to you better in the process. But I mainly am doing this so that I grow and thirst after God’s word more privately.
My question for you this morning is simple!
Are you thirsty to know God more?
I say that because water plays a vital role in one’s life. For example: Water is the basic component of life. Life cannot be sustained without water. Human beings are made largely of water. All forms of life die in the absence of water. When scientists want to investigate the existence of life they look for the existence of water. In order to determine whether life exists on Mars they have been probing to find water.
Do you know the importance of
water to our physical bodies?
When our bodies fail to retain the right amount of water, dehydration sets in. It is the water in our body that determines the vitality, strength, and energy associated with daily living. The human body is ⅔ water and the body absorbs cold water faster than hot water. By the time you are 70-years-old, you will have required 1½ million gallons of water. Studies show that increasing water consumption can decrease fat deposits. Water is a natural appetite suppressant. If you loose 2% of your body’s water supply, your energy will decrease by 20%. A 10% decrease in water, you will be unable to walk, and a 20% decrease you’re dead. Water is therefore essential to life!
So what is true of the physical
is also true of the spiritual.
Turn with me to John chapter 7 We need to understand the significance of why Jesus said what He said in (v37-v39). Its feast time! “The Feast of Booths” (v2) At the heart of the Feast was a daily procession. The Priests carrying Golden Pitchers would lead a parade or procession through the city to the pool of Siloam singing these words "Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." Isaiah 12:3. The great crowd of people would parade back to the Temple and the Priests would pour the water from the pool of Siloam down upon the Altar and the people would shout and wave palm branches. This procedure went on for seven days, but on the last day the procedure was repeated with two significant exceptions.
First, when the parade of people returned from the pool of Siloam, the Priests would march around the Altar seven times celebrating Joshua's victory at Jericho.
Secondly, the Priests would raise the golden pitcher over the silver funnels as they had done each day previously, but this time there was no water……only an empty pitcher.
This signified the disobedient generation that died in the Wilderness. Instead of a shout and the waving of palm branches as the people had done each day, they now stood in silence. It was in the moment of silence, this moment of bewilderment, emptiness and meaninglessness that ………..Jesus cried out. (v37-v39)
We know it caused a great commotion because we read (v40-v44). This breaking of silence was a glorious call of hope for sinners. The offer was presented to those who are thirsty.
Who are those who are thirsty?
Because “thirst” is refereeing to anxiety of soul, conviction of sin, desire for pardon, longing after peace of conscience. Spiritual thirst is what Jesus had in mind and what He is concerned with. The same kind of thirst David had while wandering in the wilderness of Judah, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1. We find a similar account of spiritual thirst in Psalm 42:1-2 where we read “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
Here we see a promise that Jesus delivers that will quench our thirst forever! The question is……. Are you thirsty? Jesus said, "If anyone thirsts…" (v37) Thirst is a consciousness of an unsatisfied need. Thirst expresses desperation. Thirst will kill faster than hunger. One can go weeks without food, but only days without water.
Are you thirsty? Are you thirsty for God?
Sadly many today thirst after other things that have no eternal value for their own soul.
Other religions that fit their lifestyle and wants and desires.
Money and fame and status.
The pleasures of this world to fill the void in their heart.
Honor and validation for who they are.
Self-indulgences or lust of the heart.
It’s no wonder the bible declares the natural man or woman as being “blind”, “asleep” or as “dead”
This is what makes the gospel so beautiful! It is the power of God, who awakens the dead to see and thirst after Him and His righteousness. The blind seek after vainglory, all because they love their sin more than God. Look what Jesus says “Let him come to me” (v37) Instead of depending on this ceremony of drawing water, Jesus says “Let him come to me, the Messiah, and he shall find an ever-abundant supply for all the wants of his soul.” Jesus is the foundation and supplier for our spiritual necessities. Jesus is the reliever and delivers for our souls from judgement and Hell.
See to come to Christ is to believe, and to believe in Him, is to come. This is our only remedy for spiritual thirst, especially if you feel parched from this past year. You will never find satisfaction or relief in anything apart from the salvation given to mankind, through His living water. Remember what Peter said to the Sanhedrin? “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED BY YOU BUILDERS, WHICH HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE.' Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:8-12
J C Ryle penned these words which I think summarizes this invitation to come! “The remedy may seem a very simple one, too simple to be true. But there is no other remedy that this; and all the wisdom of the world can never find a flaw in it, or devise a better. To use this grand prescription of Christ is the secret of all saving Christianity. The saints of God in every age have been men and women who drank of this foundation by faith and were relieved. They felt their guilt and emptiness, and thirsted for deliverance. They heard of a full supply of pardon, mercy and grace in Christ crucified for all penitent believers. They believed the good news and acted upon it. They cast aside all confidence in their own goodness and worthiness, and came to Christ by faith as sinners.”
This is what Jesus is refereeing to when He said “let him come to me” (v37) This is what makes the gospel so precious and beautiful! But, Jesus doesn’t stop their! He seals this truth of living water with a promise! This promise comes with a Helper who will seal you in Christ.
Who is this Helper? Jesus answers this question in the verse that follows……..”the Spirit” As the scriptures say “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” Isaiah 44:3. In Ezekiel 39:29 we read “And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.” The Holy Spirit plays a pivotal role in your salvation and in your sanctification and thirst after God daily.! Without Him we would be still dead in our sins and trespasses.
The Holy Spirit Brings Conviction To The Sinner’s Heart.
Man needs first to see his state of sin, then he needs to have proof of the righteousness of the Savior who can save him from that sin. We also need to be reminded that if he refuses to receive the Savior, he will face certain judgment and condemnation” The Spirit illuminates our sinfulness to our conscience (John 16:8; Acts 2:37-38; Rom 1:19-20).
What does the Spirit use to convict our sinful hearts? God’s Law that is written on our hearts. (Rom 3:20; Gal 3:24; Luke 24:32)
The Holy Spirit Regenerates (Converts) The Sinner’s Heart.
It is important to remember that it is God through the work of the Holy Spirit who graciously grants us salvation. (Titus 3:5; 1 Cor 6:11) The Holy Spirit is the primary agent through which we are reborn into His family. The Holy Spirit produces in the soul, making one a new man or woman (2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:23-24)
The Holy Spirit Resides In The Believer Permanently.
The Holy Spirit in Old Testament times was temporary in nature. For example Ps 51:11 “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” The Holy Spirit in the New Testament permanently takes up residence within the believer at the moment of salvation. John 14:16-18; Rom 8:9; 15-16; 1 John 2:27
The Holy Spirit Baptizes The Believer At Conversion.
The believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation, which means that that he/she has a new life with Christ once for all. (Rom 6:1-4; 1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4-6)
The Holy Spirit Seals The Believer Forever.
The sealing of the Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee of eternal redemption for the believer.
This sealing speaks of a finished transaction in which God has implied ownership of the believer. (1 Cor 6:19-20; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13 and 4:30).
The Holy Spirit Fills The Believer With New Desires And Thirsts.
The filling of the Spirit in the life of the child of God is one of the most important issues. Why? It depends on our complete yielding to the Spirit that dwells in us. (Eph 5:18). We can quench (1 Thess 5:19), we can grieve (Eph 4:30) but we must walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:25). The filling of the Holy Spirit ultimately results in the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23), Joyful and sharing hearts (Eph 5:19), Thankfulness (Eph 5:20), Submissiveness (Eph 5:21).
See salvation or this living water is more than a drink! It’s everlasting and it comes with a promise! Sadly many miss this truth! Many people have a problem with suppressing the spiritual thirst that Jesus offers. Many people fail to see and recognize their own thirsty soul and desperate need of His spiritual drink. Many people are ignorant to their own emptiness though they know deep down inside they are lacking and empty. Many people fail to realize that only God can truly satisfy that thirst.
Jesus did not promise a trickle or a stream. He promised a river that will never run dry. Can you get your mind wrapped around that truth? The Holy Spirit is like a mighty rushing river, a life-giving river. He is like the mighty river found in Ezekiel 47 that produces life wherever it flows. Think about it! The mighty Amazon River finds its origin above the freezing line of the Andes Mountains in South America. There, little trickles of water emerge from the frozen ground and flow down the mountain. One little stream flowing into another little stream until a majestic river is formed. As the river flows it picks up speed and power. It flows for 3,600 miles before it reaches the Atlantic Ocean, where it hits the ocean at a rate of 1.4 million gallons of water per second and with such force that it pushes fresh water some 60 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean. Wow!
That’s the same power the gospel has when a person embraces Christ.
Jesus did not promise a trickle
or a stream or a flow.
He promised a river. He promised us the Third Person of the Trinity. The gospel is a life transforming and an ongoing action as He brings you into His glorious presence.
That’s what it means to never thirst again!
That Jesus is enough!
Maybe this illustration will help? There is a story told of a young student who went to his spiritual teacher and asked the question, "Master, how can I truly find God?" The teacher asked the student to accompany him to the river which ran by the village and invited him to go into the water. When they got to the middle of the stream, the teacher said, "Please immerse yourself in the water." The student did as he was instructed, whereupon the teacher put his hands on the young man's head and held him under the water. Presently the student began to struggle. The master held him under still. A moment passed and the student was thrashing and beating the water and air with his arms. Still, the master held him under the water. Finally, the student was released and shot up from the water, lungs aching and gasping for air. The teacher waited for a few moments and then said, "When you desire God as truly as you desired to breathe the air you just breathed -- then you shall find God."
This is who I want to thirst after more this year. More than I did last year, because He has not only promised me eternal life, which is enough. But! He has given me the Spirit, to guide and direct my life for His glory and my good.
I want to know His Word more…. so that I’m able to have an answer of hope for the lost, the walking dead, like I once was.
I want to know His Word more…. so that I can speak with confidence and a boldness that glorifies our great God in Heaven.
I want to know His Word more…. so that I will never thirst, even in the dry seasons of my own heart when the struggles of life creep in.
As the late and great preacher Jonathan Edwards, a young teenage boy wrote “Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.”
So let me ask you again!
Are you thirsty for this water?
Start this year off right and discipline your Christian life to know Him more through His Word. Why? It’s through the Written Word that you responded in faith through the Gospel that He offers in John chapter 7. As Paul said “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Rom 10:17. He has saved you, He is keeping you, and He will deliver you one day. But until that day I want to hunger and thirst for Him daily as I study, pray and live out my life for His glory for 2020.