I think one of the best pictures in the Bible for the state of our spirits before we are saved is a desert. Our spirits are a barren wasteland of a desert. Nothing can live in those conditions for very long, which is why Paul says we are dead in our trespasses and sin.
You might be tempted to think, from this picture, that there is a little bit of life left in you; and you just need to be rescued from the desert so you can recover. However, the Bible paints the picture that you are already dead. There is nothing alive in your spirit to recover.
This brings me to my verse. Jesus told the woman at the well that if she had known who He was and would have asked Him, He would have given her “living water” (John 4:10b). He explains in verse 14:
“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
He is talking about the life-giving work of the Holy Spirit.
Here is a little fact that might be helpful to know. The term “living water” was not just something Jesus made up for this teaching. The term “living water” was a common term in those days. That is why the woman did not ask Him what He meant by it. Instead she asked Him where He was going to get living water.
What is “living water” then? “Living water” was their term that described moving water, like rivers or natural springs. Moving water brought life with it. Even in the middle of a desert, if a natural spring popped up out of the sand, things would start to grow. You would have an oasis of life in the middle of a desert.
Living waters do not dry up, like still waters do. They have a continual source feeding them.
By the way, the term “still waters” was used of water that just sat there. Man-made wells or rain puddles were “still waters.” “Still waters” would eventually dry up or grow stagnant and cause things to rot. Remember in Psalm 23, “still waters” were referred to as a good thing. That is because sheep were afraid of “living water.” They would only drink from still water.
So what is Jesus talking about when He says He will give living water that will spring up into everlasting life, and that will make them never thirst again?
Jesus is talking about what the Holy Spirit does in us when we are saved. This is called the Regeneration of the Holy Spirit; because it is making us alive (quickening us), where we used to be dead.
When a person thirsts, they thirst for what will sustain their life. In our case, spiritually speaking, we thirst for what will give us life. Like the thirsty ground of a desert, we thirst for life-giving water.
When we repent of our sin and put our faith in Christ alone for our salvation – both of which are a gift from God – the Holy Spirit brings new life to our spirit. This new life is an everlasting life. We will never thirst for life again, because we already have it in abundance. The “living water,” the Source of our life, the Holy Spirit, is not going away – and neither is our new life. It is ours forever.
By definition, the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is a radical transformation. Although we cannot see the Spirit, and therefore cannot see this transformation; we can see the results of it. Jesus said in John 3:8:
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
You can’t see the work of the Spirit directly, but you can “hearest the sound thereof.” The question is – Do you see the evidence of the Spirit bringing new life to your spirit?
Are you still a spiritual dead man thirsting for life, or has God given you the gift of new life?
Are you overflowing with living water? One typical sign of this new life is best described as an overflowing. A person who is overflowing with living water cannot help but tell other people about what God has done in their life.
Notice I said – what God has done – not how they cleaned up their own life and made themselves better.
Pray for God to give you living water, then overflow on everyone you see.