If there ever were a miracle food to cure whatever ails you, it would be water.
Water is the best remedy for hunger, headaches, pain, and all types of sickness. If you're cold, drink water. If you're tired, drink water. If you're thirsty, drink water! I lead a lot of outdoor adventure trips, and the most common treatment I advise for fatigue, fear, coldness, or just about any other common complaint is water. It really works!
Nothing quenches thirst or satisfies needs like water. This fall I backpacked for a couple days in Yosemite, following some lesser-known trails to the most incredible vistas in the park. What struck me as the most difficult part of the 3,000 foot gain in elevation was rationing my water. I carried about a gallon of water at a time and drank most of my supply each day. I'm used to hiking on the East Coast, where streams, puddles, and lakes are abundant. Running out of water is never a danger. But hiking on the lip of Yosemite Canyon at the end of a dry summer creates a whole new challenge. Here, streams are not abundant and the famous Yosemite Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, was reduced to barely a trickle. If this major water source was dried up, how was I supposed to expect other water sources to be available in this unexplored wilderness?
My fear of running out of water escalated as I realized an increasing desire and need for hydration. California's climate is as foreign to wet and wonderful West Virginia as are its inhabitants. No matter how much I drank, my lips always remained parched and I always desired more water. As I pushed on, I found myself daydreaming of the end of the trip when water would be available, endless, and free.
One of the things I love most about water is that in most cases it is free. Just by boiling out contaminants, I can drink my fill of clean, refreshing, healthy water anywhere I go. It is one of the greatest provisions of life that God has given His creatures.
You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. Psalm 104: 10-13
It's not a surprise that God has chosen water as a metaphor for the most precious, satisfying, essential gift He has given to mankind. This gift is entirely free, limitless, unmerited, and it provides health and strength for all areas of life.
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock." Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:10-14
Like water, the Lord Jesus' free gift of eternal life is all too often polluted, wasted, or taken for granted. Many try to replace water with soda, milk, etc. It is not wrong to drink things other than water on occasion, but nothing will satisfy thirst in the same way as pure, plain water. Some earthly pleasures may seem to satisfy for a moment but nothing can meet our need for God like the Living Water of salvation, which is Jesus' free gift of forgiveness and new life made possible by his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead.
Are you wasting water? Am I taking for granted the gift of life? How are we unknowingly polluting the purity of the gospel?