Living Water

Living water Christian painting based upon John 7:37-39. A Japanese sumi ink painting of a waterfall and a cherry tree.

BELIEVER’S ROAD SERIES 2

Click on the image to enlarge it.

SOLD, Japanese Sumi Ink and Acrylic Paint on Rice Paper; 63 cm x 34 cm (25″ x 13.5″); Prints Available

 

[Jesus said,] “‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” (John 7:37-39)

We all have an inner emptiness and an aching void inside our hearts, and we go through our whole lives trying to fill it.

Some of us can temporarily distract ourselves with earthly pleasures to get rid of our inner aching for a time while others try to drown it out with drugs, alcohol, harder types of rock music or whatever else might medicate their souls. However, most of us discover that when we finally possess the “thing” that we think will get rid of our inner aching–it doesn’t–it fails us. Our inescapable inner pain then drives us on to the next thing we think will take it away. Most of us don’t understand what that gnawing inner emptiness is nor do we know why it’s there. We go from one thing to another (especially relationships) trying to get rid of it, but we never succeed. This is because God is the only one who can take it away.

We are all desperately thirsty for love and communion with someone. We have a voracious desire to be intimately known by someone and to intimately know them. This is our innate human desire for intimacy with God. 

We have a “God-shaped void” in our hearts, and only a loving, personal relationship with him will satisfy our thirst and get rid of that gnawing, aching, inner emptiness once and for all.

God is perfect in holiness and cannot be in the presence of sin. All of us have sinned, and it estranges us from God (Romans 3:23). Our estrangement from God is what causes that aching, inner void.

However, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus, the Son of God, came to live the perfect, sinless life we could not live, and to give his life to ransom us from our sins. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, he paid the punishment for our sins.

As you repent (confess and turn away) from your sins and trust in Jesus to save you–that he has died in your place–then God will ransom you from the penalty of your sins and reconcile you back to himself. Jesus receives what you deserve, and you receive what Jesus deserves. You will be at peace with God and enter into a loving, personal relationship with him that will last throughout eternity.

To read about how to enter into a personal relationship with God, see “Message”.

Jesus once spoke with a love-thirsty woman about this very subject:

“…Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’…

The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans).

Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’

‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?…’

Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’

The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’

He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’

‘I have no husband,’ she replied.

Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.’

‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet’…” (John 4:6-19)

Jesus was highlighting the woman’s thirst for a relationship with God, which she unsuccessfully tried to quench with a string of romantic relationships. Jesus then went on to say to her, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

Coming to know God through faith in Jesus Christ–having a real, vibrant and loving relationship with him is the only thing that can truly satisfy us. As we worship him, we commune with him and our soul’s thirst is fully satiated in him.

No matter how much we are aching inside, no matter how voracious our thirst for God’s love is, he is much greater and his supply is much more abundant than we can possibly imagine. He actually pleads with us to come and drink his presence, his Spirit, his love. In the final chapter of the Bible, we read:

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb [Jesus] down the middle of the great street of the city [heaven]…The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:1-2, 17)

In our little, human minds we have a way of belittling God and limiting his infinite power. We forget that he spoke the entire Universe into existence (how many light years across is that, again?) (Genesis 1) and that he continues to sustain everything in the Universe today (Hebrews 1:2-3) (so, what’s on your to-do list?) He knows how many hairs are on our heads (Luke 12:7) and he knows every one of our thoughts before we think them (Psalm 139:2).

In my painting, I wanted to capture something of the “bigness” of God, that he is far huger than what we often imagine him to be. I also wanted to capture the overflowing abundance of God, that his supply is more than we can possibly imagine.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

God is not just a little, intermittent stream. He is an overflowing, powerful torrent of living water! He totally overwhelms us with his love, his eternal life, his Spirit, his provision, his presence. We can not only be filled and satiated but also flooded and overflowing with him!

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'” (John 4:13-14)

Aside from the several Scriptures I already mentioned, here are a few more Scriptures I was referencing through this piece of artwork:

“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water fill flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive…” (John 7:37-39)

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

“‘But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.'” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

“In that day–‘Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the LORD, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.” (Isaiah 27:2-3)

“‘Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David…Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” (Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-7)

See also, “Planted By Streams of Water” (Word of God Series) and “Desert Triptych” (Believer’s Road Series).