So basic is water to everyday life that it's easy to take it for granted. But in many parts of the world, people lead very difficult lives because of drought. The Monitor recently reported that 1.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.6 billion lack proper sanitation (March 20). Millions are dealing with health issues because of contaminated water. Clearly, these conditions deserve our prayers so that people living under these conditions can have a better life.
The Bible provides many examples of God's ever-present care for all of His children, and because many of them lived in desert places, water was especially important. Often the examples show that God provides abundantly and quickly for His children. As God's spiritual ideas, or children, we live within God's goodness, which can never be depleted, destroyed, or dried up. In the Old Testament, the 23rd Psalm calls God a shepherd, who leads us beside still waters. This signifies the absolute peace that only God, divine Life, can give.
Speaking of God's promise, the book of Isaiah declares: "When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water" (41:17, 18).
God as spiritual and everlasting Life overflows with love that always guides us to comfort and peace. When Moses was leading the children of Israel through the wilderness, and they became distressed because there was no water, he struck a rock at God's command, and water poured forth (see Ex. 17:6). Elisha purified and restored a city's water supply (see II Kings 2:19-22). Christ Jesus spoke of himself as "living water" when he said, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).
When Jesus spoke of this living water, the Christ, he was referring to his spiritual nature, divinity embracing and caring for humanity. Christ is the completeness of our Godlike nature and the source of our everlasting life. It is completely satisfying, an ever-flowing, inexhaustible fountain of spiritual ideas meeting the human need. It's not something we need to struggle to obtain or earn; it's God's free gift to each of us.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, pondered deeply the spiritual meaning of the Bible. When speaking of divine Love, which gives us the true sense of victory, she once said, "The river of His pleasures is a tributary of divine Love, whose living waters have their source in God, and flow into everlasting Life" ("Pulpit and Press," p. 3).
Though much patience may be needed in order to gain answers to the water shortage issue, prayers that rely on these ideas will help bring God's presence to light and reveal what intelligent action is needed. As we bring ourselves and our community into harmony with God's plan, God acts upon human thought, giving it the willingness to change habits and perspectives.
The promise of Isaiah, which was so real to the prophets and to Jesus – "I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water" – is a living thread that continues today. Countries and individuals struggling with water shortages can be strengthened by the living hope of this promise.