Thursday, September 10, 2020

‘Stay Hydrated, My Friend!’

Perhaps you recall the old beverage commercials where the dapper, gray-haired gentleman looks at the camera and urges, “Stay thirsty, my friend!” Well, no matter how distinguished he appears, how well-meaning, the fellow had it wrong. 

Because one key to good health is keeping properly hydrated. Medical science tells us the average human body consists of 60 percent water, with the brain and heart made up of 73 percent water, and 83 percent in the lungs. So if you’ve been working out, or feel rung out by stress, it might be good to hydrate to replenish your inner water supplies. When someone tells you, “You’re all wet!” that might be a compliment.


Just as the body requires physical
water, we also require water
for our souls.
Most of us think about drinking water when we feel thirsty – like when mowing the yard on a very hot, humid day, or during a break while playing an outdoor sport – but according to health experts, that might be too late. Staying thirsty, becoming dehydrated, can result in a variety of negative consequences.

My intent is not to offer physical health advice, but to point out there’s a parallel in the spiritual realm – even more critical. 


In the gospel of John, Jesus often speaks “living water” that is available to anyone willing to receive it. For instance, we see His encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. After asking that she give him a drink from an ancient well in the town of Sychar, He says, “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” (John 4:10).


Confused, the woman observes, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?” To which Jesus replies, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:11-14).


Later, addressing a crowd in Capernaum, Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). During His talk we call the Beatitudes, the Lord states, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). 


And speaking to a group of antagonistic religious leaders, Jesus boldly explains His meaning: “’If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive” (John 7:37-39).


Sounds like Jesus is talking about the importance of “spiritual hydration.” I’ve mentioned this before, and it’s not original with me, but the Christian life is not difficult – it’s impossible. The only way we can possibly succeed is through the power of Christ living in us spiritually, the “living water” He spoke of so often.


We might have the best of intentions, and even try really hard. But in our own strength, our efforts to live out the timeless truths and commands of the Scriptures amount to futility. But if we avail ourselves of the living water He provides, as Jesus said, “streams of living water will flow” out of us for the benefit of all who encounter us.


To experience this involves time with God every day. Not just Sundays, or even a couple of days a week in some formalized worship settings, but every single day. It requires prayer, time reading and meditating on the Scriptures, and reflecting on Him throughout the day. Talking to others about the Lord, when opportunities present, is especially effective for keeping the living water flowing.


There’s no secret formula, or steps 1-2-3 to follow, any more than your personal physician will dictate how often, when, and how much physical water you should drink every day. It’s just that we need the water – natural and supernatural – and to go even one day without it can be devastating.


It’s offered to every one of us – as Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Me.” We need only accept His gracious and unconditional offer of living water that will last forever. Stay hydrated, my friend!


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