By Brooke Holt
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.’” (Isaiah 12:3–4)
“Drink more water” is common health advice—but it is no longer just eight glasses a day. Instead, each person should drink half of their body weight in water. That means a 160-pound person should drink a minimum of 80 ounces, then add one more ounce for every minute of strenuous exercise. That is a lot of water!
The prophet Isaiah writes about water, but in a completely different context than our health coaches today. In the nation of Israel, there was not an abundance of water; in fact, the land was perpetually short of water. There were no lakes or streams surrounding them. Instead, they were dependent upon rainfall to fill their wells and cisterns. No rain meant no water for the crops, no water to drink, and no water to wash clothes and dishes. The Israelites were dependent on God to bring the rain.
This image of drawing water with joy would not be lost on them. It would mean abundance, freedom, certainty, and a lack of struggle. God was foretelling the time that would come after judgment. There was always hope of restoration for God’s people. That restoration would come through his divine intervention, and thus the people would receive from the Lord and give thanks to their God.
Not only are the Israelites called to give thanks but to make God’s deeds known to all peoples—so that God would be glorified not just in Israel but throughout the world. Where Israel prided themselves on being God’s chosen people, holy and set apart to him, they forgot why they had been chosen. They were to be lights in the darkness, displays of God’s holiness and goodness in this world. Why? So that others would be drawn to the Lord and have a saving relationship with him.
This water of the Lord was not meant exclusively for Israel but for all people. God’s provision of water and salvation is abundant; his well will never run dry. Jesus addressed the people, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37–38). Not just water but living water, and not just water to drink but water to flow from the hearts of those who believe in Jesus. What a glorious offer this must have been to those gathered in the temple to celebrate the Feast of the Booths! In a place where water was scarce, Jesus offered living water.
Are you drinking this living water? Does it flow in your heart? John 7 explains that the living water that flows in our hearts is the Holy Spirit. Just as Isaiah prophesied to a people who had not yet endured the judgment nor the promised restoration, so Jesus spoke to a crowd who would not yet receive the Holy Spirit. That was to come after his ascension.
You, however, are living in a time of fulfillment. You have the Spirit of Jesus dwelling within you in abundance. Today is the day to drink deeply of the living water, to allow the Lord to refresh you, and to share this living water with our thirsty world.
Reflection: Will you drink deeply and then share this gift of salvation? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Awaken the awe and the wonder of Advent! “The King Is Coming” is a 4-week Advent devotional especially written with a child’s heart in mind. It takes families through the salvation story by focusing on who God is, the gift of Jesus, and the importance of celebrating and sharing that miraculous gift! Bring your family together this Advent season for a journey exploring God’s big love for you.
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