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 those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” [John 4:10,14 (NLT)]
When in Canada last summer, we came across a strange body of water called Medicine Lake; although it looks like a lake, it really isn’t. It’s where the Maligne River backs up before disappearing into several underground pipelines. The cave system draining this river is one of the most extensive in the world. Every spring, the runoff from melting glaciers and snow fills the river with water much faster than it can drain and, as the water backs up, the river becomes a lake. As the summer progresses, the inflow slows and the water level gradually lowers until, in autumn, it once again looks like a river. The disappearing water resurfaces far away in lakes and rivers throughout the Canadian Rockies and eventually ends up in the Pacific Ocean. Medicine Lake is like a bathtub without a stopper that is being filled faster than it can drain; once the faucet’s flow slows down, the tub’s water level lowers but it never quite empties.
On the other hand, the bogs near our northern home are more like bathtubs with drains so gunked up from hair, soap and other yucky stuff that the water can’t empty. Typically, rain and snow are the only source of a bog’s water. Formed when a lake fills with debris, a bog has little or no drainage and the water that enters it stays there. Without movement, the bog’s water becomes stagnant, gets a foul odor, and can become a breeding ground for insects, bacteria, parasites and disease. Thinking of these two bodies of water, I wondered if I’m like Medicine Lake or a bog. Like the lake, do I spread God’s blessings or, like the bog, do I keep them all to myself? The water that feeds both starts clear and fresh, but only water that flows (as it does in the lake) remains that way.
Jesus said He gives us living water, the Holy Spirit, so that we’ll never thirst again. For the water to remain fresh and sweet, however, we can’t allow it to become stagnant; it must flow in and through us and, like the water from Medicine Lake, spread far and wide. Like those underground streams, we must be His pipelines, not just of our blessings, but of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Only when Jesus’ living water pours through us can we bring life to the world. Are we stagnant cisterns or flowing pipelines with rivers of living water flowing from our hearts?