Bottled water is a fascinating phenomenon. I sometimes wonder if bottled water today is a matter of necessity or nicety – do we consume it because it’s convenient or because we think our tap water may not be so good? Perhaps, it’s a combination of both, depending on where you are at any particular moment.
Whatever your view of the bottled water industry, there is no debating that it’s big business! From a marketing perspective, many companies play up this benefit – ‘It’s bottled at the source.’ Certainly bottling at the source is desired over having water travel through miles of pipe prior to bottling. There is wonderful satisfaction in slaking one’s physical thirst with a nice cold bottle of water.
In the spiritual, going to the source of the only One who can truly slake our spiritual thirst is not only important, it is imperative! For Jesus, the source of living water, promises that living water to those to those who will put their trust in Him.
While speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:10, Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The living water was a reference to the Holy Spirit, which Jesus later reveals while teaching at the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7:37-39: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
Here is the simple yet relevant principle for our witness today I want to draw from these two passages –
Challenge people to go to directly to the Source!
I remember it vividly. It’s September 1987 – I’m on an airplane flying from Atlanta to St. Petersburg, Florida. Sitting next to me is a gentleman who is telling me his story of how he came to faith in Jesus. After he shares the gospel with me, he asks me a question that rocked my world. Knowing I was Jewish and believed in God, he said, “Why don’t you ask your God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, if Jesus is the Messiah?” Wow! And you know what I did? I got off the airplane and did just that. And you know what God did? He answered my heartfelt cry for revelation. Three months later, in December of 1987, the Lord revealed Himself to me, I believed the gospel, and was born again – putting my trust in Jesus.
Through the years of my Christian life, whenever I have the privilege of sharing my testimony, I like to quote from the prophet Jeremiah, where the Lord says,
‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3)
As you think about witnessing in your daily walk, look for opportunities to challenge people to go to the Source, the source of Truth – the Lord Himself, to reveal the truth about Jesus and the gospel message.
Jesus, in speaking with the Samaritan woman, presents a conditional proposition: If she would ask, she would receive. As we seek to share the Lord with people, we would do well to follow His example.
But there’s more! In the Scripture we see a pattern of God imploring people to go directly to Him in order to receive that which He alone can bestow. For example, notice God’s conditional proposition to provide restoration, revelation, and salvation for those who go to Him:
In Jeremiah 29, the prophet spoke to a wayward people, namely Judah, about God’s promise of restoration, should they turn back to Him:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
In Matthew 7 the Lord implores people to ask, seek, and knock in order to receive that which is ‘good’:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)
Among other things, is not the very revelation of Jesus’ true identity and veracity of the gospel message good?
Lastly, the Apostle Paul simply and powerfully exhorts people to call upon the Savior in order to receive salvation:
“…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
As we ponder our evangelistic efforts in light of these truths, be encouraged. As His witnesses, we proclaim truth and implore people to receive the Lord. At the same time, we need be mindful to challenge people to go to the Source, God Himself, for revelation, and ultimately, for salvation. This should lighten our load, knowing that if and when they ‘get it,’ it will the Lord who gives it…when they ask!
Next time, we’ll focus on our audience and how to specifically challenge them to call to God – the Source. For now, may we rejoice that God has heard and still hears our heart cry!
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me.” – Psalm 34:4