For people who live in dry lands, as I have most of my life, water
assumes a special importance. It is mentioned often in the Bible, a
book set in a dry land. This website weaves together several
strands of Biblical images and teachings on water:
1. As we saw in the article about the tsunami in Japan,
water can be both a destructive force and a life-giving
The devastation caused by water is the thrust of the Psalmistâ€™s
cry in Psalm 130:1: "Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.â€�
The blessing of water is seen in the book of Isaiah, particularly in
chapters 35 through 58:
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the dumb shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
The thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
Grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
The poor and needy search for water,
But there is none;
Their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
And springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
And the parched ground into springs.
I will put in the desert
The cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set pines in the wasteland,
The fir and the cypress together,
So that people may see and know,
May consider and understand,
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
That the Holy One of Israel has created it.
The Lord will guide you always;
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
And will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
Like a spring whose waters never fail.
2. Water is connected with justice in the prophecy of Amos
and the movie Chinatown:
I hate, I despise your righteous feasts;
I cannot stand your assemblies.
Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
Righteousness like a never-failing stream.
3. In the New Testament, water is associated with
continuous spiritual renewal and refreshment, like the
dependable water supply we rely on when we turn the tap.
We see it most clearly in the talk Jesus had with the woman at the
well in John 4:4-26. Jesus had walked from Galilee to Judea and
stopped in Samaria on his way back.
â€œJacobâ€™s well was there, and Jesus, tired from his journey,
sat down by the well. When a Samaritan woman came to draw
water, Jesus asked her for a drink.
â€œThe Samaritan woman said to him, â€˜You are a Jew and I
am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?â€™
(For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
â€œJesus answered her, â€˜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.â€™â€�
He explained that â€œwhoever drinks the water I give him will
never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become a spring of
water welling up to eternal life.â€�
The woman was excited at the thought of not having to carry
water day after day to supply the needs of her household. â
€œSir, give me this water so that I wonâ€™t get thirsty and have
to keep coming here to draw water.â€�
When Jesus told her things about her life he couldnâ€™t possibly
have known, she decided he was a prophet. She asked him about
a vexing religious question that separated Jews from Samaritans. â
€œI know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he
comes, he will explain everything to us.â€�
â€œI am he.â€�
Jesus is the source of the spiritual renewal we need in or lives. He
is the bridge between us and each other and between us and
God. He is the one who satisfies our deepest needs for
forgiveness and peace and
This painting is (c) 2011 by Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.