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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

November 6, 2015

Living water

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

30 years ago my wife and I visited Israel. We accompanied a group of Ambassador College students on their summer tour of the country. On one of the last days of our visit, when the students were busy participating in an archaeological project, our tour guide took us along to show us an area not far from Jerusalem where Joshua's long day (cf. Joshua 10:11-13) took place.

We left after breakfast and were scheduled to be back around lunch time. Since we would only be gone for a couple of hours, each of us took only a small bottle of water along. We arrived, parked the car and hiked to a rocky, dry valley where Joshua pursued the Canaanites. It was a hot summer day and the sun was shining with its full Middle Eastern strength.

Our tour guide knew Israel quite well, but on this day he became disoriented. We did not find what we were looking for, and we hiked quite a while until we found the parked car we had left hours earlier. Since we were gone longer than planned and the day was hot, we had already consumed our water.

Fortunately we were not dehydrated, but I don't think I have ever been so thirsty as on that afternoon. Once we had driven a few minutes, we came to a house (the area was not densely populated), and our guide asked in Hebrew whether we could drink some water from the garden hose. We took turns getting a much needed drink and then refilled our water bottles.

Water accounts for about 80 percent of our body as physical human beings. Without water we would not survive very long, because our internal organs would begin to fail. And as I learned some 30 years ago in an inhospitable area in Israel, our body lets us know when we need water.

Our need for water teaches us an important spiritual lesson: Without the holy spirit, which is symbolized by flowing water, we cannot survive eternally. That's what Jesus emphasized after the Samaritan woman gave Him water to drink at Jacob's well: "Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:13-14).

Have you ever been really thirsty? Then you can identify with King David's analogy: "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" (Psalm 42:1-2).

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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