Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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“I am created the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
I, myself, will give freely of the fountain of the water of life to him who is thirsty.”
The Spirit of God is often referred to as water, which is essential to life. One of the best known verses in the New Testament is that which Jesus spoke when he went to Jerusalem and stood in the midst of the multitude gathered there for the yearly Feast of Tabernacles:
37. On the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink!
38. He who believes in me, as the scripture said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water!”
39. But he spoke this about the Spirit, which those who believed on him were going to receive.
Another very well known portion of Scripture where the Spirit is described as water can also be found in John:
10. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink’, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
11. The woman said to him, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket, and the well’s deep. Where, then, do you get that living water?
12. Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank of it himself, and his sons and his cattle?”
13. Jesus answered and said to her, “Everybody who drinks this water will get thirsty again;
14. but if anyone drinks the water that I’ll give him, he’ll never thirst again. No, the water that I’ll give him will become within him a fountain of water springing up into eternal life.”
Every soul on earth who has felt a deep longing for God and His righteousness has also felt the great relief that the Spirit of God brings when it comes. That sweet water of life is as precious to souls who are thirsty for God as natural water is to men dying of thirst in the desert.
Anyone familiar with sea creatures will tell you that if you take them out of the sea and put them in fresh water, they will die. Fresh water is poisonous to creatures who live in salt water; they flee from it when they come near it. In John’s Revelation, an angel told John that the sea which John saw in his vision represented the world’s “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and languages” (Rev. 17:15). And the people of this world are like the creatures of the sea. They refuse the pure water of the Spirit and flee from it just as creatures of the sea refuse and flee from fresh water. Paul said it this way:
14. A natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot comprehend them because they are spiritually discerned.
Those in this world who feel no thirst for God think the ones who drink it are strange. To the one, that sweet water carries the aroma of life leading to more life; to the other, that same sweet water carries the stench of death leading to more death (2Cor. 2:16). Sinners whose hearts God has not touched with His conviction for their sins have no desire for the Spirit that cleanses from sin. They are not made to live in the Spirit but to live in the flesh, and to live any other way than “in the flesh” is abhorrent to them. Peter said, “They are surprised” (1Pet. 4:4) when anyone ceases to “walk after the flesh” and begins to drink of the waters of life.
When at the end of his revelation, John saw the New Earth which God has prepared for those who love Him, one of the first things John noticed was that on that New Earth, there will be no oceans:
1. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed.
I assume that what John was describing here was a New Earth with no oceans. But whether or not that is the case, the fact remains that the ocean of “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and languages” who do not want the fresh water of God’s life will not be there. Those who will be granted the blessing of living forever on that happy New Earth, where fear, pain, and death will never be known, are those on this present earth who do not treat the holy Spirit like poison, but who long for it, pray for it, love it, drink it in, and learn to live by it.