“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you ‘Give me a drink’, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?’ …. Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” (John 4:10-14)
Scientists are excitedly calling last week’s discovery of a liquid water lake on Mars a “game-changer” in the search for life on other planets. I read countless science fiction books in my younger years and still love Star Wars movies. So my first reaction to this announcement was, like the scientists, to imagine the discovery of some living spore on Mars and how that could re-stimulate our imagination as to intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.
These thoughts about water and possible life on Mars quickly turned, however, to consideration of a much greater discovery made 2,000 years ago on our own planet, Earth: the living water from Jesus that brings eternal life!
The life our scientists seek on Mars is, in the Greek language of the New Testament, called “bios” – the physical, temporary life of all plants, animals and humans. Earth has plenty of water and is saturated with “bios”. Science has been unable to find even the smallest speck of “bios” anywhere else.
On the other hand, the Greek word for “life” used by Jesus in John 4 is “zoe”. This is the life that comes to people in right relationship with God – the life that is abundant and everlasting because it comes through the living water that is God’s Holy Spirit. (John 3:3-15, 7:37-39, 10:10)
The great tragedy of human history is that we have plenty of living water available to us on Earth just like we have plenty of natural water. God has poured out His Holy Spirit “on all flesh”, that is, so as to make this living water and “zoe” life available to every person on the planet. (Acts 2:17; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) But while our world is teeming with “bios” life, “zoe” life continues to be the narrow way found by few. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Non-Christians remain trapped in a spiritually dry “bios” life because they do not believe living water and “zoe” life really exist. They don’t believe because when they look at the lives of the Christians around them, they see lives that are about as dry as their own. And we Christians live these dry “bios-like” lives, despite having sincerely believed in Jesus, because we have not yet truly embraced everything Jesus means when He speaks at John 4:10 of “the gift of God.”
According to 2 Peter 1:2-3, God’s gift to us includes everything (I repeat, “everything”) we need for “zoe” living. Let’s make a list of what we Christians have been given:
1. Our eternal, all-good, all-powerful Creator God gives us His perfect, unconditional love. We are each fearfully and wonderfully made in His image and likeness. Although we were born broken into this broken world, He is restoring us to His original design step by step, including the restoration of love, truth, peace, and joy in our lives.
2. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in full payment for all of our sins. Jesus was then resurrected in glory with all authority in heaven and earth, including authority over the forces of spiritual evil that seek to destroy us.
3. God sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in each of us forever. By this, we are born of God and become His children, invited to live in intimate love with Him forever.
4. God is ready every day to empower, lead and speak to us by His Spirit. To make sure we are not deceived by false spirits, He have also given us the Bible, fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, so we can learn the incredible truth about who God is, who we are, and what life can and should be.
5. Finally, God has given us each other so we can all belong to a loving, healthy family on earth, able through His power and the gift of prayer to continue the good works Jesus did, including things beyond our ability to ask or imagine.
My friends, the abiding spiritual awakening our nation and world needs is really just a matter of Christians waking up to who we are and what we have. Living water has been discovered on Earth! Let’s dive in and drink, and begin living the “zoe” life for which we were created!
God bless you, and God bless our community.