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Why we need the water of life

Regular columnist James Knight explains why water is so important in our lives, especially the spiritual variety.

The human body needs water to survive, and we have an inbuilt cognitive mechanism that triggers the sensation of thirst to tell us our body needs to take on more fluid. According to scripture, this thirst mechanism has a spiritual analogue too, because we’ve been created with an inner thirst for a relationship with God, our Creator.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God has set eternity in our hearts; and when Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well, He tells her that whoever drinks the water that comes from Him will never thirst, and that in us it will be “a fount of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4: 1-13).
Most people don’t consume enough water in a day, which is why health professionals are always reminding us to drink several glasses of water each day on top of our food and drink intake. Similarly, most of us probably don’t consume enough spiritual water each day, which is why the Bible is full of instruction about how to keep our well replete by living a full life in Christ.
Given that every single person has an inbuilt mechanism for the desire of both physical water and spiritual water, I have an analogy that I think explains the dynamic between believers and unbelievers in the world. Water is such a blessing to us, but we rarely acknowledge the full extent of its benefits in things that aren’t served to us as plain water.
Similarly, Christianity is the biggest blessing the world has ever known, but we rarely acknowledge the full extent of its benefits in qualities that are not nowadays seen as formally Christian qualities. Consequently, there is a kind of cheat being propagated, where the benefits of water are being repackaged into something else, as society (in Europe anyway) gradually seems to be becoming less Christian.
You see, in our daily food and drink consumption, many of the things we enjoy consuming instead of plain water are giving us the water we desire at the same time. Most fruits and vegetables have between 80-90% water content; cow’s milk is about 90% water, even coconut milk is about 50% water, and most bread is about 60% water. Water is in great quantity in most of the food and drink we consume each day – so much so that if we didn’t drink any glasses of plain water each day but ate and drank enough of other foods and drinks, we’d receive much of our required daily intake.
But it would be an error to eat and drink all these products and then claim that the body no longer needs water, because it’d be a denial of the most important property contained within the nourishments.
See how that works with Christianity, and Christ’s encouragement to come to Him to quench our eternal thirst. The plain water available to us is like the spiritual water we can consume for our betterment, but there are also healthy fruits and vegetables and drinks we can consume that give us some of our daily water intake, but also other benefits too. In the analogy, these fruits, vegetables, and drinks are the human qualities like love, grace, generosity, charity, kindness, etc that benefit primarily because they come from God (the water content) but also benefit because they are intrinsically good human qualities in themselves (the other beneficial ingredients).
That is to say, a glass of milk, a bowl of pineapple, a portion of mashed potato or a piece of bread do much of their good first by the value of their water content before they do anything else good. Similarly, the good we do in the world with all those beneficial qualities are good first because they are from God, and good second because God is working through us (whether we realise it or not). Society is being influenced by Christ in immeasurable ways many are unable to acknowledge.
Now here is what UK society is like – it is full of these good qualities (and bad too, of course) but there has been a systematic effort by unbelievers to influence people in their masses, away from understanding the benefits of water, by making them believe that the thirst is being quenched from other ingredients.
At first these proclamations were radical, and they took time to penetrate even the periphery; but as time went on they became more easily absorbed into public discourse, where nowadays they are taken for granted in a widespread fashion.
But a time is coming when we will all find out just how present God has been in all the goodness in the world. His well spring will erupt through the ground like a burst pipe, flooding the globe with understanding of the power of His love and grace. Then the whole world will know one of the profoundest truths, conveyed by St. James, that “Every good and perfect gift is from above”.
It’s a remarkable truth to ponder that everything that’s good finds its source in God; it means something very unusual and wonderful; that we are borrowing our equity from Him and yet He is going to pay us even more with interest. What a stupendous arrangement that is for us - and how amazing that all we have to do is accept it as a gift.

The image is courtesy of pixabay.com

JamesKnight300James Knight is a local government officer based in Norwich, and is a regular columnist for Christian community websites Network Norfolk and Network Ipswich. He also blogs regularly as ‘The Philosophical Muser’, and contributes articles to UK think tanks The Adam Smith Institute and The Institute of Economic Affairs, as well as the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC). 

The views carried here are those of the author, not necessarily those of Network Norfolk, and are intended to stimulate constructive debate between website users. 

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You can also contact the author direct at j.knight423@btinternet.com
Duncan MacInnes (Guest) 16/09/2021 11:18
Excellent and helpful article - thank you James.

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