It’s funny how you can read a passage a thousand times and then suddenly–boom. There’s something there you’ve never seen before.
That’s what happened to me last week.
“Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13).
Something about that idea of a spring of life-giving water grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go. I couldn’t figure out what God wanted me to see. Then it finally came to me:
We aren’t empty cups. We’re springs.
Here’s the difference. I’ve heard it taught that we are empty vessels who need to be filled by the Spirit’s life. And that’s true. As branches, we have to be connected to the vine. Abiding in Christ is at the heart of Christianity–we can’t accomplish anything without him. But if we think of ourselves as empty cups constantly needing to be filled, I think we have the wrong image. Jesus didn’t say we would be cups–he said we would be springs.
What’s the difference? A cup is passive. It has to be filled, and when you drink it dry it sits there empty until someone fills it back up again. Springs though–springs are active. Because a spring’s source is in the groundwater supply, a spring is constantly bubbling up with new, fresh, life-giving water. There’s no shortage. There’s no drought. And because the spring never runs empty, it becomes a source of life.
We are springs. The life-giving water Jesus gives us becomes in us a “spring of water welling up to eternal life.” If we are in Christ, the Spirit of the Living God dwells within us. We are tapped into that deep groundwater of the Spirit that knows no shortage or drought. The Spirit produces life in us and makes us into life-givers. Because the Spirit of God is within us, we bring life with us. We can live from a position of abundance, not scarcity.
And what does that abundance look like? Generosity. Hope. Peace. Love. Risk-taking. Life-giving. Joy-bringing. Plant a spring in the desert, and what happens? Life comes. Plants spring up. Animals come for water. Birds find places nearby to build their nests. Things long dormant awaken to live again. In the same way, we have the power to bring life into spiritual deadness. We carry the life-giving power of the Spirit within us, and it wells up from within us to bring life–eternal life.
That’s my challenge to you today: remember that the Spirit within you is a life-giving spring.
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