Living Waters

May 19, 2017

Whoever believes in Me, as Scriptures has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”     — John 7:38

I always understood this is the goal – to be so connected, so overcome with the presence of Christ in my life, that living waters flow from me so others may know Him and drink.  I get the idea – but I’ve never been exactly sure what it means or looks like.  I wonder if living waters flow from me and I’m not sure.  The implication might be if you do things right, living waters flow.  If you don’t, you’re kind of a loser Christian.

I typically feel like a loser Christian.  I read my Bible and clearly, I fall way short – which is one of the reasons I am grateful for Jesus.

Jesus came for people like me - those who fall short. Share on X

In an unrelated moment, I read the following story credited to Peter Marshall, former Chaplain of the United States Senate about the “Keeper of the Stream”.

The story is about an old man who lived in the Alpine forest, high above an Austrian village.  The man was hired by the town council to clear away rubbish from pools of water up the mountain which fed the stream that flowed through their town.

Faithfully, the keeper of the stream removed leaves, branches and accumulated silt that might contaminate the fresh flow of water.

The town possessed such a beautiful, clear, stream it became a popular attraction for tourists from all over the world.  Years passed and one evening the town council met for its annual meeting.  As the council members looked over the budget, they began to question the salary being paid to this obscure keeper of the stream.

They questioned why they kept the old man year after year.  The council voted to cut the old man’s services and tell him he was no longer needed.

For several weeks nothing happened and the council members congratulated themselves on their savings.  By early fall, the trees began to shed their leaves.  Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, impeding the flow of water.  Rollicking rapids with sprays of water became stagnant pools.

One afternoon someone noticed a slight, yellow tint to the town water.  Within a few weeks, a slimy film covered sections of water along the banks and a foul odor was detected.  Tourists soon left and some of the residents became ill.

The town council, realizing their error, called a special meeting to rehire the keeper of the stream.  Within a few weeks, the stream cleared and life in the town returned to normal.

When I heard this story, I immediately thought about the living waters in John 7:38.  I thought about my stream and the debris that clogs it.  Habits, gossip, pride, anger and unforgiveness – rotten leaves that create a dam and keep water from flowing.  I thought about Christ being the keeper who removes the junk that litters my stream if I allow Him to.

The danger is just as in the story, the effect of no keeper is subtle at first.  I may not notice leaves and branches accumulating.  I may not even notice a change in the stream – water that was once fresh and flowing becoming stagnant and still.

Eventually leaves of self and sin start to pile up, stink and rot.  Just like the town council, I can choose to value the role of the keeper and allow Him to work or I can let my stream stay clogged with stink and slime. 

I’m thankful the keeper of the stream is always willing to clean up my mess.  He never holds his nose in disgust or walks away muttering, “you get what you deserve.”  In His grace and mercy, He lovingly removes the debris and encourages me to flow again.

He loves me unconditionally and died to pay the penalty for my sin, my junk, my debris – and because of Him, the keeper of the stream, I receive living water.


When I get busy and don’t make time for God, the first thing I notice is bad language creeps in, next impatience. What kind of stuff shows up when your stream gets clogged?

To leave a comment, please scroll to the bottom – thank you for reading and commenting – it means a lot to me.



More about Liz

I'm a free spirit. I hate rules and legalism. I love art and nature, music, the beach and dogs. I like to garden, take pictures and read. I tend to speak my mind and have a rip-the-band-aid -off approach to life. (Brace yourself, this might hurt.)

    1. LIz-this post is amazing and one that I need to read over and over again. LIFE gets in the way and I too begin with filling myself up with temporary “feel good ” escapes. Thank you for sharing your “creep up” actions that muddy the waters. I have so many that I have promised myself to spend 15 straight minutes writing them down. MOre importantly, when they creep in , I will battle them with scripture that I know will win every time. Thanks for motivating me to be better. LOVE your blog!

      1. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment – it truly means more than you know. This is why I’m writing – God nudged – to get feedback and see God using it is amazing. Thank you again ?

    1. This one is beyond my favorite!!!!!
      I too am so grateful that Jesus doesn’t plug His nose at me and leave me in my sin! I always say when I am daily filling myself with His word, and spending time praying for just worshiping Him, I am a better wife, mother, daughter, and you probably know…friend.
      Thank you for the reminder….going to go have my quiet time right now!

        1. Liz
          I liked your latest blog the most. It was poignant and thoughtful.

    1. Goodness, I needed to read this. I haven’t been making time for God, not in the way He wants and the way I know I need. I pray every day but I haven’t been in the word and like you said, little things creep in that you don’t even notice at first. But I’ve become an uglier version of myself lately (my tone, my energy that I let overflow into the room, judgements and bitterness) and last night I cried because I don’t know how it happened. Just a month ago I felt so at peace and secure (was in the word often) but after moving in with my in-laws stopped making time, which couldn’t have come at a worse time. Thank you for this, God just used this as another affirmation that I so needed and your gentle words show His grace. I think I’ve been avoiding the word because I’m embarrassed but I know that’s the enemy. God Bless you.

      1. Thank you Paige for reading and your openness. I so relate to your comment – I also become a version of me I’m not proud of. It shows me I really do need God, Jesus, to do this life. It means so much that you took the time to share from your heart and that God used this. All Him! Love to you, sister. ❤️

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