If anyone is thirsty, let Him come to Me and drink He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37–38)
Cisterns can be impressive. The cistern at King Herod’s winter palace of Masada held a million gallons. Theoretically, that is enough water for a person to drink, cook with, take showers, wash the car, and replenish the goldfish bowl—for life. Although cisterns give the appearance of a secure and reliable source, they can have hidden cracks. They depend on rainfall, and the water becomes stale. Natural fountains appear feeble and liable to contamination, but they remain fresh.
God is likened to a fountain, not to an impressive cistern. Jeremiah warned Israel to turn to the fountain of living waters and not to other sources like cisterns.1 We need to examine our relationship with God. Do we practice binge drinking—turning to God once in a while in the hope that a lengthy and intense time with Him will be sufficient for spiritual health? How much better to live by the fountain! Healthy spiritual hydration comes by drinking frequently.
Cisterns have no outlet; the water sometimes remains for months before it is used, then replenished by storms. On the other hand, fountains feed pools and streams. Given time, even a tiny spring will produce many times the volume of water that a musty cistern can store. Along the banks of the stream lush vegetation thrives year round; birds and animals find shelter and food. Fountains produce life.
Jesus is like that. He goes beyond satisfying us; His life overflows. His Spirit in us bubbles out like a spring, forming rivers of living water that flow on to refresh other dusty, dry lives. Jesus might have alluded to any of several Scriptures that speak of the desert being watered.((E.g. Isa. 41:17–20; 43:19–20; 44:1–4; 55:1; 58:1–12; Ezek. 47:1–12; Joel 3:18.)) In Jesus, Yahweh completed the prophesied supply of living water. Now it can overflow through us into the spiritually arid world to water others.
Are you drinking from the fountain of living waters?2