Living Water: A Modern Parable

Once upon a time, far away and long ago, three brothers set off to find their fortune. They wandered together, seeking adventure, glory and a good living. But they soon determined that it would be best for each of them to go their own way. So they set off in three different directions.

The youngest brother found a beautiful meadow nestled in a valley and decided to build his home there. The sights and sounds of the meadow filled his senses with joy.

But he quickly discovered the problem with his meadow. There was no water source. The meadow was completely dependent on the rain that fell – and so was he. He diligently set up a water barrel, intent on catching every drop possible. And in the rainy fall, snowy summer, and damp spring, his system worked adequately enough.

Until the scorching heat of summer. The meadow turned crispy and the wildflowers that had brought him joy shriveled and died. But worse than that, he had very little rain. What did come was always in a brief downpour, never enough to fill his water barrel. He was constantly thirsty and constantly in danger of shriveling up himself, just like the grass in his field.

The second brother was a little wiser in his choice. He, too, found a beautiful spot to build, on the side of a small mountain. His property sat in a spot where the elements had ripped away rock, leaving a protected wall of mountain and a flat space for his home. He loved seeing the eagles soar overhead.

And, unlike his little brother, he built near a water source. At the bottom of the mountain there was a river rushing through with plenty of water, even in the hottest times of the year.

The problem was the “bottom of the mountain” part. It was easy to go down to the water. He quickly wore a path that got him safely to his refreshing, life-giving water. The hard part was getting the water back uphill. Water is heavy and the man quickly learned that he could only carry so much of it back at one time. He exhausted himself, traipsing up and down that trail with his buckets, day after day – and sometimes more than once in a day! He was not as thirsty as his younger brother, but he still found his life to be draining, unfulfilling drudgery. The eagles still soared but he had no time to enjoy them because he was constantly making trips to the river.

The third brother made a much, much wiser choice. He, too, found a beautiful spot. But he also made sure that it had its own water supply on his land. A fresh spring bubbled up onto his property and formed a small, clear stream. He had only to step out of his back door and walk a short distance to get water. No matter the season, no matter the weather, the spring bubbled, always immediately accessible. Because he had a continuous source for water, he was able to turn his attention to other things. Soon he not only had his snug house but he was able to plant a garden, build a barn and buy livestock. In very short order, he was thriving.

————–

Do you get it?

The first brother had no water source at all.
He represents the person without Christ.
Without the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Without the strength that comes from the Master who says, “You can do all things through Me.”
There is no Living Water in his life.

And so he gets his joy, his peace, his fulfillment from whatever good comes into his life.
Which works when the weather cooperates.
But when it turns hot and dry, when the gentle rains don’t fall, he is truly out of luck.
Out of resources.
Out of strength.
And when the person without Christ finds herself lacking, she turns without to fill that need.
Fill that hole.
Quench that thirst.

Sometimes the fake water comes in the form of good things.
Volunteering
Working hard
Giving generously
Being an active participant in community
Doing good things to frantically try to quench the thirst.

Other times it comes from good things that morph into bad things.
Shopping to excess
Eating to fill the void
Exercising to extreme

And still other times it starts out ugly and gets worse.
Addictions to drugs, both legal and illegal
Addictions to power, leading to abuse
Addictions to physical pleasure
Addictions to pain

Empty.
Thirsty.
Shriveling.

The second brother is the man or woman who knows where to find Living Water – but only uses it sporadically. And always in his own strength.
He uses it socially.
A meme on Facebook.
A scripture thrown into an argument.
A sentiment that sounds biblical touted as the answer.
The occasional attendance of a church service.
A religious song here or there.
Engaging on Sunday and checking out the rest of the week.
Engaging when it is convenient but never really giving into the flow.
Never really allowing Living Water to be a part of every day.
Every moment.
Every decision.
Every activity.
Never fully surrendered to the flow.

That life is exhausting.
Because when you do not consistently tap into the Source, you quickly get burnt out.
Life in this fall world is hard.
Draining.
Frustrating.
And without Living Water flowing through, you find yourself trudging at least half the time – and wondering why Living Water is so hard to access.

But the third brother found the secret.
Jesus said, “I have come to give you life – abundant life.”
He said, “If you know me, you will have streams of living water flowing through you.”
He said, “I AM Living Water.”
“I AM The Source.”
“I AM all that you need.”

Living Water flows continuously.
Regardless of the “weather”.
The circumstances may be scorching.
Like they are right now.
The threat of nuclear war
Leaders that make you shake your head at best and make you furious at worst.
Protests turned deadly
Hearts turned ugly
People turned vicious
Words slung like arrows
Actions that speak even more loudly than words

The circumstances are scorching.
Maddening
Enraging
Frustrating
Hurtful
Despairing

But Living Water is available.
He is always available.
Living Water flows with forgiveness, even for the unforgiveable.
With love for the unlovable.
With peace in the midst of the storm.
With hope in the midst of despair.
Living Water is available.
He is available.

But you have to access The Water.
Accept the gift of Jesus.
Surrender to Him fully.
And then allow Him access to every part of every day.
Every corner of your life.
Every thought in your head.
Every emotion in your heart.
Let Living Water flow.
Get to know Him.
Read His Word.
Study His Word.
Talk to Him.
Yell at Him if you must – He can take it.
Choose to praise Him in the storm – or in the heat.
Choose to consistently meet with other believers to be encouraged, exhorted, changed.
Choose to filter every decision through what His Word actually says. Not what you want it to say. But what it says.
Yield to the Spirit when He says, “Delete that post”, “Rethink those words”, or “That attitude needs to be changed.”
And let the Living Water flow.

Surrender.
Engage.
Drink deeply.
Drink often.
And be changed.

Let the Living Water flow.

 

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