The Water of Life
2 Sep 2006, Dr Barry Wright
(Barry is Thornleigh's Church Pastor. This sermon was delivered at Galston church for their spring festival. Thornleigh church combined with Galston for the day.)
THE WATER OF LIFE
This month commences the first week of spring in the Southern hemisphere and we don't need to look far around us to see the evidence of new life. Those trees and bushes that lost their leaves in autumn are now beginning to bloom again. The flowers that have been lying dormant will soon be out in full bloom and garden enthusiasts will not only be planting new flowers and trees, but a host of different grasses and shrubs.
Spring is a wonderful time to be alive. And as the new buds begin to open up, their scent gives absolute joy to the senses.
Additionally, for most of us, spring is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors to see what is going on in God's world.
It is interesting to note that the Saviour himself, on a number of occasions, was to use the beauty of the flower as an object lesson for his listeners. In the freshness of the morning He plucked the lily and placed it in the hands of the boys and girls who surrounded Him and said, 'Consider the lilies, how they grow!' They do not toil to make themselves beautiful; they allow the Lord to establish beauty upon them. He then encouraged them to place their trust in Him for the things they would need, seeking not the outward adorning that most would seek, but the adorning of the heart. This lesson was later repeated to those men and women who were listening to Him unfold those wonderful truths to be found in His Sermon on the Mount.
The story is told of the great Swedish botanist Linnaeus when one day coming upon an unusually beautiful clump of heather, knelt beside it and thanked the Lord for making something so beautiful. This was to be recognition by this learned man that all life is a gift from God (Chase, ND: 21).
In Job 12: 10 we find a rhetorical question that asks 'In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.' The answer was already known to the author of those words who was making it clear that the Creator God was the giver of life to every living thing upon the earth.
What was it that God provided to enable life to flourish and change from season to season? Knowing man's needs in advance God was to provide, what I believe, was one of His crowning miracles of creation.
Technically, water is an incredible mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, combined in just the right proportion, to serve, not only the needs of plants and animals, but for man himself. In the form of snow and ice it provides the earth with a reservoir, storing millions of litres of this life-giving element on the plains and mountaintops for future use. In the liquid form of rain, it feeds vegetation and rivers and fills lakes and oceans. With water vapour in the form of clouds it protects all living things from the scorching summer heat and acts as an air conditioner, storing heat energy making life possible throughout the earth.
It was approximately 200 years ago that science was able to describe the intricate mechanism involved in the large movement of water that takes place across the earth's surface. However, in reading the Scriptures, we find this discovery was shared nearly 3000 years ago when God directed Solomon to pen the following remarkable words in Ecc. 1: 6-7. This is what he said and I am reading from the RSV: 'The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.' This fundamental law or fact of modern hydrology and meteorology is more commonly known today as 'The Water Cycle' (Morris,1966: 26). 'Each phase of the cycle is absolutely necessary for life to exist on earth, and offers abundant testimony to its origin at the hands of an infinitely wise and beneficent Creator' (Morris, 1968: 8).
Some years ago Life magazine carried an article in which the author stated that: 'Only with a hairline band of the immense temperature spectrum of the universe which ranges through millions of degrees, can water manifest itself as a liquid.' (Jess, 1971: 65) There is no doubt that this provision of water was to be a miracle of God's special creation.
God knew in advance, when He created this world that the life giving properties of water were essential to His plan and this was to form one of the many gifts He was to eventually give to all mankind.
It was to be within this special framework, where the greatest changes in sunlight and heating occur, that we find the four distinct seasons - summer, autumn (Fall), winter and spring. Where this range of heating is least, we find only two seasons - the wet and the dry. These very distinct activities ultimately control the development of all plant life. It also controls the movement of animals and man as they continue to respond to the resulting climatic changes that take place. However, in all these, we see the regeneration of new life.
The present balance between land and water, between air and water, the distance of the earth from the sun, the makeup of the atmosphere, the location of mountain ranges and the great ocean currents, are all part of God's design. Any great change in their relation to each other would result in making life on earth intensely uncomfortable, if not impossible.
Isaiah's testimony in Is 40: 12 confirms God's intricate involvement when he says: 'God hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.'
It is amazing how many times the Bible writers under the guidance of the Spirit of God refer to this precious gift of water as a beneficent provision given from the hand of God (Morris, 1966: 28).
It is also interesting to note that often in Scripture we see water being used to symbolize some great spiritual reality. Ephesians 5: 26 tells us: 'That (Christ) might sanctify and cleanse (the Church) with the washing of water by the Word.' (Ibid: 29)
We find that the regenerating power of God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, is often spoken of as 'living water' and the 'water of life'. In fact it was Christ himself who said in John 3: 5, 'Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' (Ibid)
Spring becomes a wonderful reminder of the new life promised by God to each believer along with the assurance of a place in His eternal kingdom.
It is my prayer this morning that as we continue to celebrate the concept of new life that we will all take advantage of the opportunity that God gives us to become part of His special family for eternity.
Chase, F. D. (ND) God Revealed in the Natural World. Washington DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association.
Jess, J. D. (1971) The Birds and the Bees. Chicago, USA: Moody Press
Morris H. M. (1966) Studies in the Bible and Science. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House
Morris H. M. (1968) The Bible and Modern Science. Chicago, USA: Moody Press.
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