Dear church,

Water symbolizes life. This is probably a universal symbol because all cultures understand the importance of water. Without it, life cannot be. 

The search for water on Mars and other planets is, therefore, a critical one. Scientists can know a lot about a place if they can find water. Life might be possible if water is present. If there’s no water, there can be no life.

The Nile River was thought by the Egyptians to be a manifestation of their god Osiris. The river was something to worship. Meanwhile, the Hebrew baby boys had been thrown into that river years earlier. When you think about it, it already was a river stained with blood.

It is fitting then what God did – this first of the ten plagues – in taking the Egyptians’ symbol of life and turning it into a symbol of death. Dead fish rose to the surface. Nothing could live there. And the Bible says, “the Nile stank.”

Perhaps there is an element here of, “You reap what you sow” – the blood of the baby boys bubbling to the top and cursing their Egyptian rulers. 

Faced with a horrible predicament, the Egyptians began to dig. They sought fresh water along the banks of the river. I imagine it was a desperate time, shoveling out holes in search of water.

What the Egyptians did not know and what they refused to understand was that God is the source of all life. The frequent references to water in connection with God and with Jesus Christ are meant to keep this clearly in focus for us (John 4:10; 1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

But this doesn’t stop people, including ourselves sometimes, from digging. The things we rely on for life, outside of God, sometimes turn into something less than that. And yet we forget sometimes that life originates and is sustained by God and no amount of digging will help us. 

Only faith will do.

The Egyptians had deified material objects. They lived in a world of idolatry. They were running in the wrong direction. They were digging in the wrong direction.

Are you? There is plenty of water.

“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’” (John 7:37-38).


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