The Bible Can Refresh and Restore a Thirsty Soul

Debbie Walker

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I love water. I love to drink it, float on healing waves, and watch the stars dance at midnight on a sea of glass. Life would not exist without water. It is a sustaining force, both naturally and spiritually.

In the Middle East, the land is dry and barren, therefore, water is a precious commodity. When the land is thirsty, water gives life to crops and animals. It creates gardens or oasis’ that are deemed a paradise in the parched land.

One recurring theme in the Bible is that of water. God flows through His Word with metaphors that we can understand, and it quenches our thirst.

The Bible tells us how to be watered, how to water others, and the result of taking a drink of Live-giving water. Then, as today, pure water can cleanse and nourish our lives. Come with me and follow the streams of water through a garden, to a feast, and down a well.

A Well-Watered Garden

“…You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11, New International Version)

This verse has been one of my favorites for many years. More than once, I used this metaphor for my power verse at the beginning of the year moving forward.

I needed something to anchor myself, a focus on, and I wanted to water others. To be a blessing. The preceding verse provided that for me. But first, let's dive into the context of a garden.

In the desert, a watered garden fed by an underground spring is a striking image. Travelers traversing the scorching sands depend on the reprieve of water to refresh and restore their strength for the journey ahead.

The oasis is a waystation that continually flourishes and feeds the weary with a spring of blessings.

So many times I have yearned for an oasis. Even now, my soul is heavy with the news of my grandson who is in the hospital. His suicide attempt will render him in physical rehabilitation for months, maybe years to come.

I asked God to make me like a garden so I can pour blessings into his life. I called the hospital and asked if I could pray with him over the phone. He can’t talk, but he can listen.

I can be that spring and feed his spirit with life-giving Scriptures from the Bible. The nurse told me it has given him hope.

Rejoicing By the Water

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38, English Standard Version)

One of my family’s favorite places to go in the summer is the lake. Nestled among hills and sycamore trees is a spot where we gather to celebrate life and each other.

There is something about being in and around water that makes people happy. I hear laughing, music playing, and when the sun falls below the trees, little bonfires dot the sandy soil surrounding the water’s edge.

Jesus also took part in water festivals. During the Feast of Tabernacles, in the Second Temple era, the water-drawing ceremony became one of the most popular rituals. Every night a priest would draw water from the pool of Siloam and carry it to the Temple for the next morning’s sacrifices.

A group of priests and Levites would accompany with lighted torches, singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments. It was a very joyous occasion for the participants and the people.

In fulfillment of Scripture, on the last day of the feast, Jesus boldly stood up and shouted, “whoever believes in me…out of his heart will flow rivers of living water!”

It incensed the authorities that Jesus would refer to Himself on equal footing with God. Just think about what Jesus did. In the presence of the people, He stood up and shouted that He could give life to those who believed.

However, Jesus was talking about the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. We, too, can experience this joy; we only have to open our hearts!

The Woman at the Well

“Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14 New International Version)

In this beloved story, Jesus sat by a well after a long journey. Look down and see the dust as it settles in the cracks of His swollen feet. The path Jesus chose on this day led Him to a place that would become the crossroads in the lives of many souls — notably, in the presence of one lone woman seeking to quench her thirst.

The fact she was even at the well in the day’s heat suggests she was scorned by the other women in her community who drew water earlier in the day when it was cooler.

He revealed He was the Messiah and offered this woman a drink from the Living Water of salvation. She ran to the village, proclaiming she had found the Messiah. Consequently, everyone who heard Jesus speak was saved.

I identify with the woman at the well. At various phases of my life, I’ve felt like an outcast. My community rejected me when I gave birth to a bi-racial child as a single teenage mom over four decades ago.

However, after I came to the water, Jesus washed me, refreshed me, and restored my soul. I’ve never been the same since! (I have a tribe of 21 including grandchildren of differing colors and hues.)

It is all about taking a drink of the water that restores your soul. David eloquently wrote in one of the most beloved chapters in the Bible:

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake...(Psalm 23:2-3, King James Version)

For me, water flows throughout the Bible from trickles to mighty floods. Anticipate with joy what you can draw out of these waters and you will be renewed and restored within your soul.

Take a drink and see what happens!

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