I am reading Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and the Joads are on their epic trip from Oklahoma to California. Resources are slim. Water is scarce, and the migrant families pay dearly for each gallon.
I live in Augusta, Georgia. Running alongside this city and separating it from the neighboring South Carolina is the Savannah River. Sometimes in the summer months, the temperatures will break the 100-degree mark, and all around us becomes hot and dry. We have to run the sprinklers sparingly or face fines, and on the news will be stories of other places with sterner rationing. Newspapers write that Atlanta’s population growth is threatening the water supply. In times like these, I think of the Savannah River which keeps on running. From that river, we have our drinking water.
Maybe we cannot water our lawns as much as we would like, but we do not have to fret the water supply for the more personal needs. There is a confidence that rests there. After a fashion, this is water of life.
More than sufficient
Look now, at Revelation 22.
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; (Revelation 22:1-2a–ESV)
In the New Jerusalem is a river greater than the Savannah. We can conceive of this New World river in like terms, except we should take it far further. Just as the walls, foundations, and streets of the New Jerusalem are beyond our imagination, the waters of the New River will be beyond sufficient.
Have you been to San Antonio, Texas with its waterways? Is there not a pleasure at having the water among the missions, the downtown, the zoo, the museums, restaurants, and shops? What about Venice with its world-famous waterways? There is even a casino in Las Vegas called the Venetian which has a mock-up of Venice as a featured attraction.
Part of the ambiance, the attraction, of these places is the flowing water. Look into Revelation 22 and imagine yourself alongside John the Apostle. Can you see God’s river? See how its headwaters are at the throne of God? More than ambiance is the sufficiency of it. Where God supplies, there is no chance of running short.
Sufficient for right now
The River of Life is not just a Heaven thing; it is not just a New Earth thing. It is for you and me at this moment.
There are verses and lessons scattered all through the Bible about this. Take as an example the Widow of Zarephath. God told Elijah to go to Zarephath because he was going to need food. On arriving, he saw a woman gathering sticks to cook a final meal, which of all things, Elijah asked for. Heartless? Not really, for God had sent him. After asking her for this loaf of bread, he told her that if she did this her flour and oil would be sufficient until the rains returned.
She had faith, and God did what he said. He always does. In the New Jerusalem, a River of Life will flow, and no longer will we need faith or hope. God’s supply will be as evident as a sunrise.
I encourage you to read the Bible and find the Widows of Zarephath. Look and see the way God has supplied his faithful followers, and then call upon him in your time of need. The River of Life flows right now.