Over the past few years of me working in a café, I have picked up a few things that I have noticed from various customers. Sometimes I see parents looking at their phones while their kids run amok, while at other times I am witness to some of the most personal and awkward conversations ever as potential customers argue at the counter before ordering. But another aspect of life within the shopping centre that we are covertly ministering to, that I’d like to touch upon just for a brief while; is that no matter who the person is, no matter what is going on in their day, no matter how the person is feeling; one thing is for certain- and that is that everyone at one point or another buys a bottle of water. This notion has always stayed true for the past few years, but I have been made more aware of the fact over the past week, particularly when, as I was writing up a drinks order list, I realised that every week we buy more water than each of the other drinks that we sell.
To me I reckon that’s a bit of poor planning on the shopper’s part in that they buy water instead of bringing their own water (why not fill up a thermos before you leave home, and that way you save money?), but it’s irrelevant- just interesting that it’s not just the rich guys or the poor guys who need water. It’s everyone. A mother with three kids and many grocery bags? A bottle of water. Staff member at a neighbouring store on their lunch break? A bottle of water. Businessmen on their way to work from the train station? A bottle of water. A group of 20-something year old guys waiting for their mate to finish his hair cut? A bottle of water, or maybe 3 or 4. It’s probably a bit farfetched that I just alluded to the fact that everybody all the time will buy/drink water, but even exaggerated stories have an element of truth to them, and with that, I would like to make a point. Water is needed, by everyone, for our health and also because it’s ultimately good for us even if we think we know better in the ‘drink’ we want to consume. Sure we may think we would like fruit juice or a soft drink or wine or beer, but ultimately, when the chips are down, when we’re on a desert island- what is the best drink of all that will satisfy our every physical need? Yep, it’s water.
So let me tell you guys first some ‘amazing’ and ‘astounding’ facts about water in case you didn’t know. Water covers around 70% of the entire earth in the form of oceans, rivers, lakes and other inland bodies of liquid (or is it around 80%?), and in terms of food, water is an ingredient (even if it is small!) in I reckon every single dish on the planet- and if taken away, our food would taste entirely different- bland and uninteresting. If you’re sick, with a fever or just a general cold or headache- medicine can do the trick, but water is most commonly used as the liquid to drink down the pills. If you’re fasting, I reckon you’d better be careful because no water for three days can kill you. Water is required by plants to grow. And have you ever noticed that sometimes when you drink some water at a fast pace, and more often, you seem to become thirstier, and enjoy the ‘taste’ a bit more? This can be a bad thing as your bladder will encourage you to go to the bathroom more, and at weird times of the night; or it could be a good thing, as it means that the healthy option of water is what you are being more dependent on, rather than other options. In any case, everything that I’ve just quickly glossed over earlier reminds us all just how important water is- I reckon water is so important that without it we wouldn’t even survive half a day, even if we don’t want to admit it. To me this realisation is definitely a good thing.
I reckon above all else, water is the ‘thing’ at the top of our list that we need to survive. Sure, we need shelter and a home, as well as food, family and relationships, but if there’s no steady intake of liquid into our fragile bodies…well, they’re just going to become more fragile and shut down. Not that everything else isn’t important- it is, as we need food to grow strong and heathy, family so that we can feel loved, encouraged and have someone/s to talk to, and a home to feel as if we’re wanted and we belong- but in terms of our physical health, water trumps everything. Do I go so far to proclaim ‘if we’re healthy and have water, we can be happy and content!’? It’s a stretch, but not out of reach amongst the realms of possibility. See if we are indeed healthy, stemming from the intake of water into our systems, we can make better, well informed decisions without bias or sickness getting in the way, and we can perform to the best of our abilities, resulting in maybe more money for the family or more accolades and more friends. That equals happiness, right? That, surely, satisfies us, right? More money, greater health, thus more time spent with the family? Theoretically, with water, we can and should feel refreshed, revitalised, reenergised, confident, full of life, and ready to take on the world. Nothing should drag us down, and if it does, well it’s only one thing, right? Everything else around us will be sweet, right? And that’s all stemming from water intake…
Yet the world doesn’t, and maybe shouldn’t, work that way. Because at the end of the day, water is just water. It’s not infallible or unfailing. It’s not all knowing, not all seeing, not all consuming, and it doesn’t know love, right from wrong, nor does water know how to answer the big questions of life. Water can’t mend a broken heart, nor can it explain the meaning of the universe. Water isn’t sentient, it’s only 2 hydrogens and an oxygen. And though water is required for living, it isn’t the source. Plants need water, as do animals and humans, but ultimately…we are not fulfilled nor are we satisfied with just water. Water doesn’t fill us up. So, what does? As a Christian I believe it’s Jesus who is the living water, the spiritual water for all- and though you may roll your eyes and say that the only reason I say this is because I am a Christian- let me tell you that it’s the other way around- I believe Jesus is the living water and the only thing in this world that we can rely on and be completely satisfied and fulfilled; and because of everything I have experienced and seen; hence I am a Christian.
While over the years we may have been dependent on water (it’s come to the point where we are in a 100% drought zone across all of Australia, and people all over the country are praying for rain, regardless if they believe in God or not!), I have come to the conclusion that our reliance on water highlights our very need for the One who made the water. See we are dependent and sometimes over reliant on something inanimate yet so crucial to human survival (but the dependence is warranted, let me assure you!), however we as humans generally (and this is my opinion) don’t investigate further into the reason why. That’s be a very difficult and confronting investigation let me tell you, but the fact still remains- that our reliance on water proves that we need to rely more on Jesus, who gave the water its properties. Water doesn’t just happen. There needs to be a power source.
Jesus Himself said countless times in the Bible that He is the living water and for us to come to Him when we are weary and thirsty and hungry (the woman at the well is a prime example of Jesus sharing that He is the living water for all of us!); and also in the Bible, Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding, reminding us all that He made the wine happen at the time, thus the wine was of him, therefore the water is too- one of the most simplest yet satisfying drinks physically. As God is a God who created the very thing that all humans require, isn’t He a God worth knowing and believing in?
There’s an album from Casting Crowns that has resonated in my heart quite a bit over the past few years. If you want to know more about them, you can check out Wikipedia here, but I reckon Come To The Well in 2011 was one of the first Crowns albums I had listened to from start to finish, maybe in one sitting. I had always admired the band, particularly because they were all youth pastors at their respective churches first and foremost, and then doing the band part time; but this album placed them on a new level for me, and also once again in 2012, when we as a family saw them live in concert in Sydney, and they played a number of songs from Come To The Well. With the theme of the album all throughout being that Jesus is our living water, the only One that we should ever pursue and run to, this theme is permeated throughout all tracks, especially evident in songs like “Jesus Friend of Sinners”, “Already There”, “Face Down”, “Wedding Day” and “Courageous”.
Yet to me it is the quasi-title track “The Well” that speaks to me the most, and while I will close this blog very soon- and let the music and the lyrics speak for itself, let me first say that though water fills us up physically, our souls won’t be filled until we fix our eyes on Jesus. Our souls won’t be filled if we are looking in the wrong directions, and our souls won’t be filled if we think we know better. Though this life may seem simple and all sunny during times of happiness, it’s when the storms and the trials hit when we realise that the ‘water’ we have been relying on all our lives (which can be a metaphor for our own ambitions, dreams, efforts, or material possessions) doesn’t cut it anymore! What really counts is Jesus. As I leave you for the week, and let you ponder on the state of your ‘water’ and whether it is Jesus or not, here is my two cents worth. Sure water is great for the physical bodies. Sure our versions of water for our own needs and desires can be great too. But the water of Jesus doesn’t even compare. Not even one iota. It’s so much more life changing and perspective shifting! Let’s chew on that for a minute.
Let me know on the comments below about whether you are dependent on Jesus the most in your life, and whether He is the living water to you? If not, why not?
Til next time guys- enjoy your upcoming week!