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Living Water

When I first got back from Ethiopia, I was a mess emotionally. Seeing all the poverty and suffering there split my heart open. My wife assured me that it’s normal to feel that way after a short-term mission trip—she is a wonderful and wise woman. But still, I have to admit the reentry into normal life has been bumpier than I expected.

Something as simple as getting a glass of water is not simple in Ethiopia. While I was there, I saw kids walking down the road with large yellow plastic containers, which are used for collecting and transporting water. They have to walk miles to get water and the water they have is not even clean. Yet, I can go into my kitchen and put a glass up to the fridge dispenser and get an endless supply of clean, filtered water. It doesn’t seem fair. It was such a privilege to meet new friends there, but witnessing the state of poverty they endure on a daily basis, leaves me feeling sad and angry.

Their struggle for clean water reminded me of Jesus’ invitation for us to come to him for living water.

“…Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now this he said about the Spirit…” (John 7:37-39)

And again Jesus said, “…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 4:14)

Whether we live in Tacoma, Washington or Dilla, Ethiopia we all need living water. My time in Ethiopia taught me that I have spent too many years pretending that I’m not thirsty when in fact my mouth is dry. When we only drink the water the world gives, we are left spiritually dehydrated. But thanks be to Jesus who gives us living water.

From now on, every time you have a glass of water, remember that Jesus gives living water and say a prayer for the kids in Ethiopia who need physical water for their bodies and living water for their souls.

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