“All earthly delights are but ‘streams’: but God is the ocean.” (Jonathan Edwards) When I read that statement, strangely I started thinking about streams, rivers, lakes and the ocean, so I decided to do a bit of research. This is what I found:
‘Rivers come in lots of different shapes and sizes, but they all have some things in
common. All rivers and streams start at some high point. The high point can be a
mountain, hill, or other elevated area. Water from some source like a spring, snow
melt, or a lake starts at this high point and begins to flow down to lower points. As
the water flows down, it may pick up more water from other small streams, springs
or from rain or snow melt. These streams may slowly join together to form a
larger stream or river. Small rivers and streams may join together to become
larger rivers. Eventually all this water from rivers and streams will run into the ocean
or an inland body of water like a lake.” *
It is easy to take for granted the fact that we, here in America and most other nations in the world, can turn on a faucet and have water pour out. That makes it easy to forget how critical water is for our very existence. According to more investigation, what I found out was that a healthy person can survive for 30 days with no food at all. But that same healthy person can survive only 2-7 days (with the 7 days being generous) with no water. We have all heard those rare miraculous stories of people surviving much longer times without food and/or water – but reality is that in order for our bodies to function properly, we must have water – water is life.
Possibly you have seen a movie where the characters are lost in a desert and are starving for some water. They have hallucinations of water ahead only to be disappointed, then suddenly up ahead the hallucination becomes a reality – there are some palm trees standing straight and proud and there it is – a precious pool of life-giving, life-saving water.
Isaiah 35:1-7 (TLB) says: “Even the wilderness and desert will rejoice in those days; the desert will blossom with flowers. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the Lebanon mountains, as lovely as Mount Carmel’s pastures and Sharon’s meadows; for the Lord will display his glory there, the excellency of our God. With this news bring cheer to all discouraged ones. Encourage those who are afraid. Tell them, ‘Be strong, fear not, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.’ And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf. The lame man will leap up like a deer, and those who could not speak will shout and sing! Springs will burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground will become a pool, with springs of water in the thirsty land. Where desert jackals lived, there will be reeds and rushes!” [Emphasis mine]
At one point Jesus and his disciples came to a village in Samaria where He sent his disciples to find some food and was sitting alone at a well resting. A Samaritan woman came along and John 4:7b (NLT) says: “…Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’” She was surprised because Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans and she asked him why he would ask her for a drink. Verses 10-14 say: “Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.’ ‘But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,’ she said, ‘and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?’ Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.’” And then John 7:37-39a (NLT): “On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, ‘Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ (When he said ‘living water,’ he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)”
For me personally, there have been times when my life emotionally and spiritually felt like a dry wilderness – like a parched desert. There was no joy, only despair and sadness – I was missing the spiritual water of life needed to nourish my heart and soul. I had wandered away and turned my back on my source of “living water.” But when I found my way back to the source of that living water, things started to change – life blossomed again. The source of that living water is the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God living within me. When God lives within us, that life-giving water – His Holy Spirit – enables us to flourish like the plant life that lives and thrives when provided with that necessary nourishment. But we must make the decision to receive it into our lives. “…if you’re thirsty, you can know all about how good water is for you, but unless you take the water to your lips, you’ll never quench your thirst; you’ll never be refreshed.” (Jonathan Calvert/bibleexploring.com/Streams In The Desert – 1/25/2018)
If we would only stay focused on the source of our spiritual nourishment we would thrive. As was prophesied in Jeremiah 17:8-10 “‘But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.’” That is my personal desire!
Now jumping back to my first sentence that started all this thought process…streams can be so small that they can almost seem meaningless. But as the information I found tells us, they ultimately end up in lakes or the ocean. If all the “earthly delights” we have every day are “streams” that flow into us, and because of the Spirit within us we then have “rivers” of life that flow out from us, we should ultimately end up in the ocean that is God. That vast body of water called the ocean seems to be never-ending when you gaze at it from a shoreline – just as God is a never-ending source of life. He is the water that sustains us – He is life.
Written by Karran Martin – July 24, 2020
*Sourced from “NatureWorks” which was developed and produced by New Hampshire PBS and the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.