When Ken and I were in South Africa in September 2016, we had the opportunity to go to The Kruger National Park. It is one of Africa’s largest Game Reserves, covering over 7,500 squared miles. In addition, there are several private Game Reserves bordering the Kruger National Park with no separating fences. It also borders a National Park in Mozambique. All to say, it is a wonderfully large Game Reserve. It is home to about 140 different animal species and attracts over a million visitors a year. It is one of my favorite places on earth. To see the wildlife of Africa roaming in freedom and being who they were made to be is an immense joy, especially with the rapid decline of wild (free) animals rate around the world.
However, while we were there, one could not help but see how dry it is. Many areas of South Africa are experiencing a severe drought, in some places the worst in 100 years. The Kruger National Park hasn’t been exempt. No rain means grass does not grow, which means that food is scarce. Many animals have died; my heart broke at the thought of this. But I did notice that the predators seem to be in really good health, which made sense to me as the grass eating animals were either dying or weakening so there was plenty of food for the predators, and hunting was made easy.
As I considered this I was gently prompted by the Lord to look at a parallel in our lives. When our hearts are dry and our spirit-man is parched for a drink of that living water, we can be weak. Our enemy, like a roaring lion, a predator, is always waiting and watching. And so we become vulnerable to the attack of the enemy.
In nature, even when some animals know how to dig below the surface of a dry river bed, there are times where a drought causes loss of life and there is nothing an animal can do about that. But as Christians, we know that Jesus spoke of ‘living water’ – John 4:10. In verse 13 -14, He says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Therefore we know that IN Christ, we ALWAYS have access to living water’ (The Holy Spirit.)
The bible is clear that we go through seasons in our lives. There are seasons of sweet promise and new beginnings. There are seasons when things seem right and good, when we see fruit and things work out. But then there are also seasons when we feel a pruning in our lives, or winters when we see little fruit and it can seem hard to feel connected to Jesus. But we know there isliving water. John 15:4-5 says, Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
It seems clear that in all seasons, if we abide in Christ, we have access to this Living Water and we will not thirst again. I often imagine this as an oasis in the desert. In winter it can seem like we are in a desert, but IN Christ we have this living oasis from Whom we can always drink. We can wander into the desert or we can remain by the oasis. Abide, simply means to ‘remain’.
In a blog from Bibles from America, titled: 6 Ways to Drink Christ as the Living Water, we read this: “Throughout the Bible, numerous verses show us God’s desire for us to take Him in, to drink of Him as the living water. For example, in John 7:37-38 we see that God’s desire for us to drink of Him is so great, Jesus actually stood up and cried out during a feast, issuing a call for people to come to Him and drink:
“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”
So, how do we come to Him and drink? Only the Lord Jesus can quench our inner thirst; only He is the living water. He wants us to drink of Him to quench our own thirst, and He even wants us to drink until rivers of living water flow out of our innermost being to others. But quite often, instead of feeling satisfied and watered ourselves, we feel dry and even dead. We may want to drink the living water, but not know how!
How to drink the living water Isaiah 12:3-6 we see six ways we can drink Christ as the living water, in bold below:
“Therefore you will draw water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation, and you will say in that day, Give thanks to Jehovah; call upon His name! Make His deeds known among the peoples; Remind them that His name is exalted. Sing psalms to Jehovah, for He has done something majestic! Let it be made known in all the earth! Cry out and give a ringing shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
Let us purpose that even in the midst of a drought or winter we will drink from the oasis of living water that God has given freely to those that believe. Let us remain in Him, full of His Living Water and become those that give this Water to a dying world in the midst of severe drought.