When I lived in California—and possibly for my first few years out in Colorado—I was never satisfied. I lived my life in a state of permanent discontent. As I look back on the last decade of my life, I realize—now—that I truly had everything for which a man could ask…except contentment. I was perpetually peering over the proverbial fence and convincing myself that the grass always looked, smelled, and probably tasted better on the other side. Colorado was the “other side” for which I longed. Nonetheless, once I jumped the fence, I eventually became aware that the grass in Colorado is just as brown, stinky, and dead as the grass in California—when you don’t water it.
A few weeks ago, I took my kids to see Journey 2: The Mysterious Island in 3D. I was truly expecting the headache of the century. As I drove home from the theater, I was pleasantly surprised—no headache, which was a definite plus, but I also could honestly say that I enjoyed the movie…so did my kids. They still talk about a specific scene.
One of the characters, Gabato, played by Luis Guzmán, wanted to fulfill his daughter’s dream of going to college. Knowing he couldn’t afford it on his own, he left his daughter behind, abandoned his hope of escaping from the island in order to hunt down a small portion of gold as it spewed from the volcano in the center of the island. Gabato arrived at the base of the volcano and encountered a cooled gold nugget buried in the ground. To Gabato—and to the viewers—the gold nugget appeared to be the size of volleyball. The scene changed back to his daughter and her situation, and when the scene returned to Gabato, he was 10 feet into the ground unearthing a nugget the size of a school bus. We laughed at Gabato’s illogical behavior. However, upon further reflection, I realized that Gabato illustrated an unfortunate truth within our society:
Discontent, feelings of inadequacy, and hopes of a better life lead us to dig, and dig, and dig for something to fulfill that emptiness—something to sustain us and give us a full and meaningful life.
We may not be digging for a gigantic gold nugget the size of a school bus, but we’re digging for what that nugget represents…and the more we dig, the more we sacrifice those things that are more important in life. We ignore God, our families, and our friends while we dig for more money and more possessions. We ignore our spiritual and physical health while we dig into our addictions and bad habits.
The Nile was a source of life and sustenance for the Egyptians. They drank from the Nile, they bathed in the Nile, and they relied on the Nile to water their crops. If it weren’t for the Nile basin, Egypt would just be another desert nation struggling to survive.
Prior to turning the water of the Nile River into blood, God assured Moses that He was Mighty and Powerful—in control and the Sustainer of all things. By turning the Egyptian “life-source” into blood, God was making a statement. When the Nile turned to blood all the fish died, the people could no longer rely on the Nile for drinking water, they couldn’t count on the fresh water for their crops, and it definitely wasn’t useful as a bath or to wash their clothes. What was once life had now become death. God was showing the Egyptians and the Israelites, that He—not the Nile—is the “Life-Source.” Often, the things that we rely upon as sources of life and sustenance lead to exactly what the Nile had become—DEATH!
It’s interesting that even after God proved that He is the true Life-Source, the Egyptians continued to dig for something else. They clawed along the banks of the Nile in search of fresh water—they kept on digging for that sustenance—that life (Exodus 7:24).
When Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well, he said to her:
“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.”
Later, when Jesus preached to the Pharisees he said,
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
God revealed His divine name to Moses: “I AM.” When Jesus made these statements, “I AM the living water, I AM the gate, I AM the good shepherd,” he was comparing Himself to the Great I AM of the Old Testament. It ended up getting him crucified because Jesus likened Himself to the true Life-Source, but that is exactly what Jesus is. That, in essence, is the Gospel—the Good News:
Jesus provides us with the living water; Jesus provides us with safe pasture; Jesus provides us with life to its fullest; Jesus provides us with sacrificial love and protection; Jesus provides us with eternal life; Jesus is all we need!
No more digging! Because without Jesus—The Living Water—life is just brown, stinky, and dead!