anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the
Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
HEN SOMEONE TRULY THIRSTS FOR CHRIST, Christ truly quenches that thirst. Christ’s purpose here is not simply to provide drinkable water like the water of the world, rather, he provides a mysterious element of life which Christ clothed in the garment of regular water in order to achieve his purpose of delivering the greatest truth of the spiritual realm.
As water on the earth is a critical element the lack of which produces bodily thirst, so the living water of which Christ speaks is a fundamental element of spiritual life, and when there is a shortage of it in the life of a man his spirit dries up and is closed off from God and the things of God. If in his spirit a man truly drinks from the water of life Christ gives, when he then opens his mouth rivers of life-giving words flow from it that exhort, bring joy and quench the one who is thirsty for the truth, because the water of eternal life is ‘truth.’
The fact that a man does not drink of the truth indicates his decision to keep a distance from the source of salvation. His spirit dries up and no longer finds joy from conversations about Christ and his works. This is why Christ says, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.’ Let the reader realize that drinking here is an expression of having reached true faith. The sign of true faith in Christ is the testimony and true joy that springs from the soul and attracts people. Christ says the man who quenches his thirst in faith never stops testifying of Christ, for gushing from him are rivers of living water that inspire others.
Christ spoke these words at the moment the high priest struck the silver jar containing water on the occasion of remembrance of when Moses struck the rock. As they walked through the wilderness, Moses would strike the rock and from it would flow water in great abundance, enough for all the people. The rock would follow the people as they walked through the wilderness, and according to Scripture this rock is Christ. The silver jar filled with water would be placed on the alter, and the moment it was struck the water would flow from it. It was an ingenious ritual to remember Christ’s care for the people as they sojourned in the barren wilderness and his quenching of their thirst. So it was at this moment Christ raised his voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.’ It was a declaration of the arrival of the new covenant in which Christ, not Moses, leads the people. Christ also declares here the ‘mystery’ of the rock that followed the people to quench their thirst all the years of their wandering. By the living water, Christ means the coming saving faith that will fill the life of the people and satisfy their thirst for the truth. We do not want to miss here the precious observation made by the Apostle John that when the soldier pierced Christ’s side with the spear, blood and water flowed out, which was an expression of the source of eternal life revealed by the cross of Christ. The water is a holy demonstration of the life in the blood, and this is why to fulfill what was inspired by the Spirit the Church mixes the wine of Communion with a small amount of water.
Finally, I will not hide from the reader that the greatest secret I have experienced in Christ is to taste faith in the Lord. No other taste in my life has matched it. Neither water when I am thirsty nor the best wine matches the taste of my Lord Jesus Christ: “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”
September 30, 2005
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