We have often considered the Lord’s promise, of “rivers of living water from the innermost being” (John 7:38). And perhaps we have longed for them. A question that I’ve been pondering is, “Have I progressed in this direction?” And as I was considering my answer, the Lord brought another question to my heart: “Have you reached the intermediate stage?” Here’s another picture Jesus used:
“Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."”
Jesus promises that as we drink of the water He gives, before it becomes rivers, the water will first become a well. So I may not have “rivers” yet, but the well stage is a stage that the Lord Himself promises that we will reach by His grace (and ultimately reach beyond). It’s an important question as we consider our progress toward the promise of rivers of living water: do you have a well within you?
How can I know?
Has the water which Jesus has given you become a well? The mark of one who has a well within is that they don’t have to drink at anyone else’s wells and rivers. They go directly to the Lord for strength. There’s a great example of this in the Old Testament.
“David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”
1 Samuel 30:6 NASB
David had no one to turn to in the time of crisis, and that was ok. He had learnt to cast himself upon the Lord and draw strength, life, and rest from His presence - the Psalms certainly testify to as much. Jesus had the same experience.
“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”
Every disciple of Jesus should be able to increasingly make this statement as well. “I have learned to go directly to the Lord for strength. No matter who is with me, or who leaves me, I am living in the confidence that my Father in heaven is with me.”
What about you? Consider your last crisis, the last trying circumstance you encountered. Have you learned to turn to Your Father? And more specifically - what do you hope to get from a church meeting? Are you looking for encouragement, to be strengthened by others? That’s good — definitely better than remaining discouraged and defeated — but brother, sister, I want to encourage you as the Lord has been encouraging me, to come up higher! There is a greater blessing than receiving!
“...Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
Acts 20:35b NASB
If the prospect of gathering with others stirs your heart with hope at what you can get, then you need a well!! God’s desire is that you might eagerly long to give. It’s interesting that while we are commanded to “encourage one another daily,” we are never commanded to “seek to be encouraged daily.” God wants to cause our lives to overflow into lives of giving, and for the gathering of the true church to be a gathering of disciples who are eager to give to thirsty ones. The only way to be a giver is to be routinely receiving strength from the Lord Himself, to draw from the well that is springing up within. It’s not that we never have thirst; it that in our many thirsts, we have learned to look to God and strengthen ourselves in Him.
Do you have a well? This is not for advanced, PhD level Christians! It is for every single person in the kingdom of God, who has entered into a life in the new covenant.
Such a well is evidence that we have indeed come into the new covenant. God’s Word is clear that the very least in the kingdom of God in the new covenant will have this kind of intimate, strengthening relationship with God: “For finding fault with them, He says, "Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah... and they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all will know Me, from the least to the greatest of them.” Hebrews 8:8, 11 NASB
Dear brother, dear sister, this is your birthright as a child of God: a well springing up to eternal life. Take the Lord at His Word. He has promised you, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
Come to Him, and drink.