Better Water

But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage (2 Kings 5:11,12).
I have on the bookshelves in my office in Alabama two bottles of water, souvenirs of a long-ago trip to Israel. They are just plastic bottles, originally filled with drinking water consumed on the trip. They now contain different water, though. One was filled from the Jordan River; the other from the Dead Sea. It is interesting to look at them, decades later and see the difference in appearance between the two.
The water from the Jordan is murky, with green vegetation accumulated in the bottom. Even sealed, with no addition of nutrients or exposure to air, this water contains and supports living organisms.
The Dead Sea water is clear, with crystals formed from the settling of minerals. Though this water does not contain nor support life, it still yields material of value. Void of one kind of content, it is rich in others.
Which of the waters is better? That would depend almost entirely of the use one intended to make of them. For fishing, irrigating fields, or drinking, one would choose the Jordan. If one’s interest was in minerals, however, he would certainly take the water from the Dead Sea.
So Naaman may have been entirely correct in choosing the waters of his native land if his criteria were size of the rivers, clarity of the water, sweetness of flavor, abundance of fish or any of a number of factors. But for healing his leprosy, there was no choice to be made. Only the Jordan offered hope.
Our world is filled with choices in religion, philosophy, and lifestyle. Many competing disciplines offer solutions to our ills. Yet only one offers the “Water of Life” (Revelation 22:17). Jesus promised that “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst,” but will receive everlasting life (John 4:14).
Once again, what is better depends upon one’s purpose. If he desires to continue in familiar places, knowing temporal pleasure, many “waters” suffice. But if one’s goal is eternal life, only Jesus, the fount of living water, will do.

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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