A common theme in modern spirit-filled congregations is ‘Streams of Living Water’, but before you have a stream, first you need the water! On the West Coast of Tasmania they get plenty of water, it just falls from the sky – continuously (so it seems at times). South Australia is colloquially known as the ‘driest state on the driest continent’, but is arguably the wettest state in Australia, even if it doesn’t have many streams of water, just plenty of streams of sand. So why is South Australia the wettest state? Easy, nearly 90% of the state is floating on the Great Australian Artesian Basin! All you need to do is dig for the water you need. A great Australian icon, the ‘Southern Cross’ windmill, was used for accessing that water, though it is now more likely to be a solar-powered pump.
But as with anything else, just sinking a well (or bore) is only the start of the process. You then have to maintain it over the years. Let’s look at some biblical examples of what happens when you fail to look after those precious resources.
Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
So Abram was promised a land by God, and he went there and settled. The land would be for him and his descendants. But then…!
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land.
Famine! We aren’t told the nature of the famine: it could’ve been drought, or pests like locusts or mice, or fuel rationing, or a lack of medical services, or….. But it didn’t take long for Abram to leave the land promised to him by God did it? And if you read on you’ll see that he makes some potentially dangerous choices, but eventually returns to the land and digs some wells. In Gen 21:22-33 we find that he digs a well called ‘Beer-Sheba’, or the ‘Well of the Covenant’. (As an aside, this is where the Australian Lighthorse made its famous charge on 31 October 1917, which led to the liberation of Jerusalem in WWI.)
There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar. Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
And then his descendant, Isaac, also faces a famine in the Promised land. So he decides to head off to ‘greener’ pastures, but this time the Lord stops him, and after some similar bad choices, he settled down and the Lord blessed him. Let’s see what happens next.