The God of water

This last month I gave a short talk at the opening Social Morning of the year at our church.  The topic I chose, since everyone in Cape Town is talking about it, is water.  But the more I looked into the Bibles words about water the more I realised that God has a couple of messages for us at this time.

The Bible is full of passages that mention water.  Water is intimately connected to physical life so it should not surprise us that it is used as a metaphor in several different senses in the Bible!  The first-time water is mentioned in the scripture is found in Genesis

Genesis 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 The last time it is used is in Revelation

Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.”

1. Water helps us understand God’s control and our dependence

One of this things that we are being reminded about at the moment is the fact that Cape Town is dependent on God

Job 5:10 He bestows rain on the earth; he sends water upon the countryside.

Psalm 147:8 He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.

  It is a humbling reminder to us that despite all the technological advancements of mankind, all the planning, all the structures that have been built, God is still the one who brings the rain.  The Bible goes further to say that we are actually utterly dependent on him for everything in life – even our next breath.   At this time, we should be reminded about this fact through the crisis we are facing.

2. Water helps us understand our spiritual need

When Isaiah writes to the people of Israel he (almost) chastises them for seeking spiritual satisfaction in places that cannot satisfy.  He makes an invitation:

Isaiah 55:1-2 “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. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

 And listen to what the prophet Jeremiah says in Jeremiah

Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

3. Water helps us understand the new birth

In John 3 there is the story of Nicodemus meeting Jesus

John 3: 1-5 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

The fact that when each of us is born the water has to break before a new baby is born is a picture of the fact that there is another birth that must happen in our lives – a spiritual birth.  For this a man does not have to go back into the womb – rather he has to be born again.

4. Water helps us understand cleansing from sin

Exodus tells us that Moses was instructed to make a bronze basin and fill it with water. The priests would wash both their hands and feet before they entered the Tabernacle so “that they die not.”  Aaron, in Leviticus, is told to take a bath in water before he offers sacrifices.

A ceremonial washing with water symbolizes greater purity when God says in Ezekiel

Ezekiel 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.

 As believers in Christ Jesus we can approach God with assurance as it says in Hebrews

Hebrews 10:22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

 And ultimately that is why we are baptized.  The water is the outwards and visible symbol of the inward and invisible work of the spirit in cleansing us from our sin and making us completely acceptable to God.

So in this time when we are feeling the physical need for water, may we more deeply depend of God as our Provider, Saviour and Redeemer.[1]

[1] Some points take from

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