I looked out the window as we sped along the highway. We’d left the forests and fruitful prairies of southern Alberta behind.
I stared across the barren hills of Montana. Even wild grass struggled to thrive here. There was not a house or building in sight.
This desolate landscape continued for mile after mile.
It changed, however, when the highway joined paths with the beginnings of the Missouri River.
As we zipped along the river valley, I observed lush trees and thriving farmland.
We drove past house after house clustered at the river’s edge. People were out on boats or busy tending their farms.
When I looked at the hills beyond the valley, I saw the same dry barren countryside with hardly a house to be found. Yet everywhere in the valley I saw vibrant colors of thriving plants and human habitation.
I marveled at the difference plentiful water makes. Good water is life-giving.
Then, hours later, we arrived in Yellowstone National Park.
(For those unfamiliar with the park, it is an area of the United States with volcanic history. Now, rather than lava, boiling water gurgles or sprays through holes in the ground. The water comes mixed with sulfur. The well-known geyser, Old Faithful, is only one of the many phenomenons to be witnessed.)
As we drove through the forests of Yellowstone National Park, I noticed a column of steam rising in the distance. As we got closer, we could see sputters of water bursting from the ground.
The runoff from this geyser poured over scaly white ground to a pool.
The steaming water from a nearby spring left orange build up where it trickled to join the pool.
I glanced at the trees in the area. They were ugly skeletons of branches. Not a speck of green could be found on them. They were bleached white and dead – oh so very dead.
As we drove on, we again passed through good forest with strong healthy trees interrupted by the occasional meadow of thick wild grass.
“Look! Bison.” I called as we came across another clearing.
The giant animals were grazing peacefully.
But then the landscape changed once again. Ugly skeleton trees stood ridged.
I looked around. Sure enough there was a nearby geyser spouting its venomous water.
Some days later, as we drove homeward, I pondered the things I’d seen.
I came to the question, “What type of water is flowing through me?”
Jesus offers Living Water (John 4).
That Living Water is like the river in Montana. Everywhere the river goes it brings life and abundance.
It doesn’t matter that the terrain the river cuts through is dry and barren – hardly habitable for humans. The river brings life with it.
Have I received that Living Water from Jesus today? Am I filled with it?
If I am filled with that Living Water, it will spill over bringing hope and encouragement to those around me.
Sometimes, however, I choose to do what the people of Israel did in Jeremiah’s day.
God declared: “They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves…” (Jeremiah 2:13b CSB)
When I choose to try to do things myself rather than receiving the help God wants to give me, I quickly become like those geysers and springs in Yellowstone.
The water spouting from them is not life-giving. Regardless of how clear it may appear, it is venomous. It sucks the life out of nearby trees.
Indeed, the Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone has pools hot and acidic enough to melt through rubber boots and more.
So what will I choose today? Will I lean into Jesus to be filled with His Living Water, or will I try to do things on my own?