But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.John 4:14
In a recent trip to New Orleans my husband and I took a ghost tour that guided us through much of the French Quarter. The tour guide shared animated stories of death and destruction, the necessary prerequisites for ghosts. It turns out that one of our ghosts was the cause of the 1788 fire that destroyed nearly 80% of the city.
Hagar stood but a short distance from a well of water that promised to save her and Ishmael and could not see it. What was Hagar's well of life? The water? Or was it her ability to hear and obey the voice of the Lord? What is it that helps us to see "the well of life" that God has provided for us? What is that we must do to help us open our eyes and find the truth that will not only fill our physical needs but also lead us into eternal life?
The Lord had made a promise to her that her son would become "a nation." (21:18) Within the Lord's promise came the well of living water. Indeed the well of living water for Hagar was the covenant and promises that she and Ishmael had made with Lord when they partook of the Abrahamic covenant. Hagar's life was not spared by the existence of a well of water but by her faith in the Lord who directed her to "open her eyes" and see the well of water.
1. Separated (14) from all the family she had ever known.
2. Grief stricken and left to wander in the wilderness (14).
3. Without water (15) or food
4. Alone (15) separated herself further from Ishmael
5. Distraught and overwhelmed by her circumstances(16) waiting to die.
6. Fearful (17).
7. Given to prayer of desperation and weeping (16 & 17)
Hagar's life was saved and restored because of her faith in the Lord. The Lord offers each of us a well of living water. We can choose to drink of it and live. But water abounds in our life, how do we choose wisely which water will save us? How do we learn to know the living water of truth and let it be our guide?From the talk by Aileen H. Clyde I found these words about truth, living water, and Hagar.
The Spanish believed that the answer to their survival relied on the physical existence of water within a close proximity to danger. They believed their source of water would alone aide in their survival. They could not see that their "water" had become their most imminent danger. Stagnant, separate, preserved, and unable to be cleansed, their wells served as breeding grounds for the mosquito and ironically their own death.
Living water flows with life, action, and truth. It inspires and leads us to share and interact with one another. With each drink we are renewed and refreshed. It cannot be preserved but must be shared. Living water delivers us not only by offering our bodies its required need but by feeding our soul with its pure, clean principals. Hagar found living water when she prayed and wept unto the Lord. She again found living water when she opened her eyes to the promises that the Lord had made to her and Ishmael. Her living water filled her when she once again served herself and her son by returning unto him and sharing her knowledge not only of the well but of the angels message. She accepted the Lord's gift of love and allowed his promise to be fulfilled. Later the same well that served to save them from death becomes the means for their promised inheritance of Beersheba. Did Abraham know how this would work out when he turned Hagar and his son into the wilderness? I don't know. But he had faith that the Lord would provide. He had faith that the Lord would keep his promise unto his seed that came through Ishmael.
This story portrays the difficulties that Hagar and Ishmael had to face before remembering the Lord's promise to them. Their life was hard. They faced challenges that at times seemed overwhelming, but when they remembered the gospel principals of prayer, obedience, service, etc. their life became filled with promise. In the 2008 General Conference Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the First Quorum of the Seventy spoke to the choice that we have when facing life's challenges. He says,
The Lord’s way is not hard. Life is hard, not the gospel. "There is an opposition in all things," (2 Nephi 2:11.) everywhere, for everyone. Life is hard for all of us, but life is also simple. We have only two choices. (Moroni 7:15-17.) We can either follow the Lord and be endowed with His power and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love, and joy, or we can go some other way, any other way, whatever other way, and go it alone—without His support, without His power, without guidance, in darkness, turmoil, doubt, grief, and despair. And I ask, which way is easier?2008 October General Conference, The WayIn addition a talk entitled the Abundant Life helps us understand that our living water comes from the acceptance of the spiritual. Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve talks about some of the characteristics that will help us recognize the Lord's promise in our lives.
Today, I want to list a few of the characteristics that the happiest people I know have in common. They are qualities that can transform ordinary existence into a life of excitement and abundance. First, they drink deeply of living waters. Do you seek peace of mind? Drink deeply of living waters. Do you seek forgiveness? Peace? Understanding? Joy? Drink deeply of living waters. The abundant life is a spiritual life. Too many sit at the banquet table of the gospel of Jesus Christ and merely nibble at the feast placed before them. They go through the motions-attending their meetings perhaps, glancing at scriptures, repeating familiar prayers-but their hearts are far away. If they are honest, they would admit to being more interested in the latest neighborhood rumors, stock market trends, and their favorite TV show than they are in the supernal wonders and sweet ministerings of the Holy Spirit. Do you wish to partake of this living water and experience that divine well springing up within you to everlasting life? Then be not afraid. Believe with all your hearts. Develop an unshakable faith in the Son of God. Let your hearts reach out in earnest prayer. Fill your minds with knowledge of Him. Forsake your weaknesses. Walk in holiness and harmony with the commandments. Drink deeply of the living waters of the gospel of Jesus Christ.2006 April General Conference, The Abundant Life
As I think about water and its significance in our lives, I am filled with the idea that water alone is not enough to save us. In the town of New Orleans their stagnant water protected them from fire but invited an unseen death. Hagar's ability to live depended not on drinking the water but on finding the water. The idea that God has made promises to me and that I must not despair but must drink daily of his living water through service, obedience, inspiration, joy, kindness, understanding, and through accepting all the blessings the gospel brings. When we partake of the Lord's covenants, his promise to us becomes our well of living water. And it flows within us. It cleanses us. It renews us and brings us Joy.