Water Bubbling Up to Impart Everlasting Life
“Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty at all, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.”—JOHN 4:14.
“SUDDENLY, from behind the rim of the moon, . . . there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery.”—Edgar Mitchell, astronaut, describing the earth as seen from space.
What gives our planet a hue of such brilliance that the astronaut was moved to wax poetic? It is the water that covers nearly three quarters of the surface of the earth. Actually, water not only makes our planet look beautiful; it also helps keep the creatures on earth alive. In fact, about 65 percent of the human body is made up of water. Thus, regarding water, the Encyclopædia Britannica states: “It is vital to life, participating in virtually every process that occurs in plants and animals.”
Thanks to an efficient recycling system, earth’s supply of water never needs replenishing. “Almost every drop of water we use finds its way to the oceans,” explains The World Book Encyclopedia. “There, it is evaporated by the sun. It then falls back to the earth as rain. Water is used and reused over and over again. It is never used up.” Some 3,000 years ago, this remarkable process was described in the Bible: “All the winter torrents are going forth to the sea, yet the sea itself is not full. To the place where the winter torrents are going forth, there they are returning so as to go forth.” What a marvel of creation the earth’s water cycle is!—Ecclesiastes 1:7.
In view of water’s importance to life and the marvelous way water is provided, we should not be surprised to find it mentioned over 700 times in the Bible. The Bible often uses water’s unique properties—particularly its power to cleanse and to sustain life—to represent spiritual values.—Isaiah 58:11; John 4:14.
The Bible’s Power to Cleanse
Because of their regular bathing and washing with water, the Israelites were remarkable for their physical cleanliness. It was customary to wash one’s feet upon entering a house for a meal. (Luke 7:44) In addition to keeping their body and belongings clean physically, the Israelites also used water to maintain ceremonial cleanness. The priests serving at the tabernacle had to wash themselves and their garments frequently. (Exodus 30:18-21) Later, at the temple in Jerusalem, Solomon made a “molten sea” of copper that normally held over 11,500 gallons [44,000 L] of water, enough to meet the cleansing requirements of God’s Law. (2 Chronicles 4:2, 6) What meaning does such use of water have for Christians today?
The apostle Paul explained that Jesus had cleansed the Christian congregation “with the bath of water by means of the word.” Like water, which cleanses physically, the truth of God’s Word has power to carry out moral and spiritual cleansing. This cleansing leaves Christ’s disciples “holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) Thus, all who desire God’s favor must work to keep themselves morally and spiritually “spotless and unblemished.” (2 Peter 3:11, 14) How does God’s Word help them to do this?
Those interested in pleasing Jehovah God take in spiritual water through regular Bible study. When the knowledge they gain touches their mind and heart, it gives such ones a strong desire to do what the Bible directs: “Be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”—Romans 12:2.
Accurate knowledge of God’s will enables such individuals to identify stains and blemishes in their conduct and thinking. As they apply Bible principles in their life over a period of time, God’s Word, like water, will help them to be “washed clean” of even serious sin.—1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
Here is how a young man in Spain experienced this transformation. “At the age of 18, I felt unhappy with my life,” explains Alfonso. He had become a drug addict and a hardened criminal. “I felt dirty because of the way I treated my own body and the way I treated other people.
“In school, I noticed a young woman my age who had a clean appearance and an innocence that made her stand out from the other students. Her example gave me the desire to lead a clean life like hers. At her suggestion, I attended a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Soon I began to study the Bible and to build a friendship with God. Within a year, I cleaned up my life and became a baptized Witness. This dramatic change led many parents in my neighborhood to come and ask me to help their teenage children who had become drug addicts.”
Water That Brings Everlasting Life
Jesus once told a Samaritan woman who was fetching water at Jacob’s well about “living water.” He said: “Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty at all, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.” (John 4:10, 14) Jesus’ words indicate that “living water” symbolizes the provisions from God for life, as explained in his Word, the Bible. They make it possible for humans to live forever. An important component of this symbolic water is the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus. “God loved the world so much,” Jesus explained, “that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16.
Alfonso, mentioned earlier, has come to value highly the “living water” from God. Referring to those who remained in their life of crime and drugs, he says: “My fleshly brother is dead, and so is every one of my former companions. Knowledge of God’s Word saved me from suffering a similar fate. Thanks to Jehovah’s spiritual provisions, I am alive.” What is more, because of what he has learned from God’s Word, Alfonso looks forward to enjoying life without end in God’s promised new world.—2 Peter 3:13.
An Invitation for All
In the last book of the Bible, we find the description of “a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Revelation 22:1) The stream represents God’s provisions that will eventually bring human life back to the perfect state that Adam and Eve enjoyed at the start of human history.
After describing that river, the account goes on to relate this invitation: “Let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.” (Revelation 22:17) Today, that invitation is being sounded earth wide. Each year, Jehovah’s Witnesses in more than 235 lands are spending over one billion hours in helping people to take in life-giving knowledge of the Bible.
Do you thirst for the water of life? By taking in the crystal-clear water, that is to say, by learning about and making use of the provisions from our Creator, you too can be among those who are “safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.”—1 Timothy 6:19.
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Like water, which cleanses physically, Bible truth has power to carry out moral and spiritual cleansing
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WATER SUPPLY IN BIBLE TIMES
In Bible times, people made extraordinary efforts to locate reliable sources of water. Abraham and Isaac dug wells near Beer-sheba to ensure that they had sufficient water for their households and flocks.—Genesis 21:30, 31; 26:18.
Shallow wells often dried up during the long, hot summers. To provide a dependable water supply, a well had to be deep. (Proverbs 20:5) One well in Lachish is 144 feet [44 m] deep. Another well, located in Gibeon, is over 80 feet [25 m] deep and 35 feet [11 m] wide. Digging that well required the removal of some 3,000 tons of rock. The Samaritan woman who came to draw water from Jacob’s fountain told Jesus: “The well is deep.” The water level there was perhaps 75 feet [23 m] below ground.—John 4:11.
Cisterns were another source of water in the ancient Middle East. These underground chambers collected rainwater that fell from October to April. Channels were cut in the hillside to direct the runoff into the cisterns. The Israelites hewed out large cisterns to store water.—2 Chronicles 26:10.
To draw water from wells and cisterns was, and still is, hard work. Women like Rebekah and Jethro’s daughters performed a vital service by drawing water every day for their families and livestock.—Genesis 24:15-20; Exodus 2:16.
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Alfonso today, sharing God’s Word