Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
and whose trust is in the Lord.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
that extends its roots by a stream
and will not fear when the heat comes;
but its leaves will be green,
and it will not be anxious in a year of drought
nor cease to yield fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NASB)
As a friend was telling me recently how important water is to plants, I marveled at the parallels to my spiritual life. Just as a plant cannot live without water, so the Living Water that comes from my time with God – both in His Word and in prayer – is critical to my spiritual life.
Plants receive their water supply through their roots, so a well-developed root system helps the plant get the water it needs.
In the same way, I need a well-developed root system that systematically and deliberately seeks out the Living Water in the deep places, not just depending on whatever happens to “fall from the sky” in the way of preaching and teaching.
A steady supply of water insures nutrients are dispersed throughout the plant in a consistent manner so maximum benefit is received from them.
My time in God’s Word and in prayer needs to be consistent, too, so I am nourished by the steady flow of truth and enriched by the constant fellowship.
When there is an adequate supply of water, it also creates a sustained pressure within the cells that causes the walls to be stretched and the cells themselves to enlarge. When we see this multiplied in thousands of cells, the result is what we call “growth.”
In much the same way, the sustained presence of the Living Water in my heart and mind, the steady exposure to God’s precepts, stretches me and I grow spiritually.
About 99% of the water that enters a plant through its roots exits through its leaves in a process called transpiration. This process not only insures the balanced flow of water through the plant with the benefits we have already looked at, but it also cools the plant and gives refreshment and other benefits to its environment. Just think about how cool grass feels on your bare feet, and how inviting a shady tree is on a hot day.
In a similar way, the Living Water that flows in through my roots also finds its way out, hopefully comforting and refreshing those around me.
When a plant experiences a lack of water, some very different things happen. First the pressure within the cells slacks off, and the stretched cell walls are no longer supported by the water – the plant appears to droop, or wilt, and growth is stunted. Nutrients cease to flow. Guard cells on the surface of the leaves shut down, preventing the beneficial effects of transpiration from reaching the environment. And the effects of external stresses like heat and wind have a greater negative impact on the well being of the plant.
When I cut corners on my daily time with God I limit my supply of Living Water, and the effects are dramatic. I am no longer able to stand upright – my judgment suffers, I lack contentment and patience, I quit growing. I lack spiritual nourishment. I have nothing to give to others, and my ability to withstand the heat from the enemy and the winds of adversity is greatly diminished.
While a plant can grow deep roots to help in times of drought, it really has no “will.” It doesn’t choose to grow deep roots, and it certainly has no control over how much water it receives.
I, on the other hand, do have a will.
I can choose to diligently seek the Living Water… or not. God has given me the ability and the responsibility to water the garden of my heart with His Word and to root myself in deep in a relationship with Him. How can I knowingly turn away from the only Water that gives Life?
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
And he will be like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither;
and in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:2-3 (NASB)
Won’t you take a minute and let us know in the comments how the Living Water (or lack thereof) affects your life?