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When the Water Main Breaks

“Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)


“The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” (John 7:38)


Yesterday, our household noticed that the water pressure had dropped to a trickle. Strange. The last time that happened, we needed to get a new water heater. Seeing that our water heater was only six months old, I quickly ruled that out. So, I hopped on our community Facebook page. Sure enough, everyone else in our community was also complaining about low water pressure. Being the sharp detective that I am, I deduced it was a problem with the Collier County water system. Brilliant, huh?


Well, I was right. (So there.) A county water main had broken that afternoon, and just before my wife and I retired, we received the WATER EMERGENCY! text. “Whatever you do, don’t drink the water! Don’t wash your dishes, either! Boil your water at a full, rolling boil for a minute. Let it cool (really?). We’ll let you know when the water is safe to use. That’s all for now, citizen.” And so, we complied. We’re still awaiting word.


“Why is a water main break such a big deal?” I wondered, so I began a little research to satisfy my curiosity. The Florida Health Department was helpful. “A drop in water pressure in a water distribution system is a signal of the existence of conditions which could allow contamination to enter the public water system through backflow by back-pressure or back-siphonage” (


Today, I learned that positive water pressure keeps purified and sanitized water flowing from the Naples water treatment facility to my home. When there’s an interruption in the system causing a negative water pressure, the line can suck in all sorts of nasty stuff like fecal coliform bacteria, E. coli, or other waterborne pathogens (*gag*) and contaminate the water streaming to every business and home.


I already knew most of that, but when we moved to Florida, I discovered water backflow was a big deal. Every building has a reduced-pressure backflow preventer that sticks out of the ground like some mutated two-legged insect from any movie remake of War of the Worlds. They can rise out of the ground from twelve to thirty inches. Imagine walking across someone’s lawn in the dark and ramming a shin into one of those things. I can guarantee that a significant backflow of un-sanctification would stream from my lips.


Reduced-pressure backflows – unsightly, yes, but also essential and highly appreciated.


Here’s how a water main break plays out:


1.      Loss of pressure.

2.      Contamination entry.

3.      Contamination spreads.

4.      Don’t drink. You’ll get sick.


Here’s the solution which kicked in almost immediately:


1.      Fix the break.

2.      Flush the system.

3.      Add preventative.

4.      Drink deeply from the free flow of safe water.


Here, we have an excellent object lesson for all Christians, especially new disciples.


The Bible calls water that moves living water. Living water must have an inflow and an outflow. Because the water moves, it’s considered “alive.” Besides that, flowing water brings life. It can never be contaminated because it continually flushes contaminants away. Living water promotes health and growth as it flows through the countryside. Even rain is considered living water.


Dead water only has an inflow or an outflow, never both. That’s why the lowest body of water on earth, found in Israel, is called the Dead Sea. The Jordan River flows into it from the north, but there’s no outflow. It just sits there and evaporates. It may look good, but the water sustains very little life because of its very high concentration of minerals.


A swamp is stagnant, non-moving water. It stinks with rot and decay because there’s no inflow or outflow of fresh water. However, the putrefied water and its stench are easily remedied when a spring or other water source is introduced, and the freshwater’s pressure pushes out the guck as it finds a new outlet.


The Holy Spirit is often depicted in the Bible as a flowing stream of water. “‘The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.’ He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified” (John 7:38-39, italics author).


The indwelling Holy Spirit is our spiritual wellspring, the source of life that affects every part of us: spirit, soul, and body. “But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life” (John 4:14).


Think of it this way. A city may have water distribution pipes for every building, but no water will flow if the main line is not connected to the water source. Once the main line connects to the source, the water flows, and the people can thrive and not die.


It’s that way with salvation. We’re all born with the capacity to experience God’s presence and His activity within us, but we’re also born disconnected from Him. Salvation is when God reconnects our spiritual pipeline to the source, and the Holy Spirit, like water, flows into, through, and out of us. The “water” is His presence, and the “flow” is His activity.


And so, we become an active water line, a pipeline of Living Water (the Holy Spirit) as we’re continually filled with His presence, and He works in and through us.


As we commune with the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to fill us and flow through us, He creates a positive spiritual pressure that exposes deposits of sin within, flushes out contaminants, and keeps our insides (mind, will, emotions) clean.


But what if there’s a break in the Living Water line? You know, like refusing to listen to or obey the Holy Spirit? Or stubbornly deciding to sin despite the Holy Spirit yelling at us not to. (Don’t play coy with me. We all do it.) Or we get lazy and stop reading God’s word, which is living and active, just like the Living Water. Or we stop communing with the Lord in general and focus on other things.


It starts with our hearts. So many things in life easily break our relationship with the Lord, but it all comes down to our hearts. When we follow our deceptive hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) into satisfying our desires our way, the break in the Living Water flow happens, and we start losing spiritual pressure. Solomon put it best. “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Jeremiah saw this happen to his fellow Israelites, “For my people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves— cracked cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13). See the comparison? A fountain of living water (life) versus cisterns (dead water). In other words, we turn from the Lord and start living our way, just like Adam and Eve.


Once the Living Water pipeline breaks, it gets ugly fast. I’ll tell ya what happens because I’ve been there.


A negative pressure starts. We start sucking in contamination that the Holy Spirit’s positive pressure was keeping out. Our minds begin to dwell on wrong, evil thoughts. Our emotions start to sweep us along like wild rapids in a river. We begin to drown in our own will.


Over time, our whole system becomes increasingly polluted, and we grow spiritually stagnant. Eventually, we stink like putrid swamp water as unclean ideas bubble in our heads from rotting thoughts. Our speech becomes a torrent of stringy slime. In the worst case, disgusting swamp creatures can take up residence, and by that, I mean demonic influence.


The spiritual living water interruption parallels a physical water breakdown:


1.      Loss of Holy Spirit pressure.

2.      Spiritual contamination entry.

3.      Contamination spreads.

4.      Don’t partake of the stagnant swamp of the contaminated person’s life. You’ll get sick.


When we’re in that condition, the best thing we can do is issue a “Don’t drink from my life” warning to everyone around us. Eh, don’t worry. They’ve already caught our stinky scent and usually start distancing themselves from us. That is, unless they’re swamp creatures, too.


What’s the solution? The same as dealing with a physical water main break:


1.      Fix the break – now! Don’t wait. Go to the Lord whether you feel worthy or not (our feelings lie anyway). Ask for His help. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). Be like King David, who prayed, “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51: 10-12).


2.      Flush the system. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness… If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7, 9).


3.      Add preventative. “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things… put to death what belongs to your earthly nature…” (Colossians 3:1-2, 5-10).


4.      Drink deeply from the free flow of safe water. “The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him” (John 7:38). All we need to do is ask. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:13).


After all this time, our household has finally received the “All Clear” from the county. The water main break has been repaired, the line has been flushed, and the water test results have returned negative—crisis over.


But what about you, dear reader? How are you doing? Is your Living Water pressure up, or are you in the negative pressure cycle, sucking in the contaminants from our culture? Be encouraged. The Lord stands ready to repair your life and flush all that stuff away, never to be seen again. Ask Him for help right now. Why be satisfied with swamp water?


Drink deep of the Lord’s Living Water!

Shining the Light of God’s Truth on the Road Ahead


Pastor Jay Christianson

The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts


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