Potable Water - The Warrior's Journey®

Potable Water

Author: Brendon O'Dowd, USAF (Ret.)

Quenching thirst. Photo by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC By 2.0

Potable water.

That phrase isn’t used much outside the military, but it’s a label that can make the difference between life and death. Now the taste of water from a water buffalo or a canteen isn’t great, but it’s better than contaminated water that keeps you in the bathroom (or worse). Logistics personnel ensure warriors have potable water, but when on patrol and lacking water, would you rather choose a stagnate pond with mosquitoes buzzing above the surface or a fresh spring pouring out of some rocks? The choice should be a no-brainer.

The prophet Jeremiah presented the people of Israel with a similar choice: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

They could choose fresh, clean water from a spring or they could choose water from a pit with no quality assurance checks. Strangely, they chose the stagnate water in a pit. Why?

There is a little word in the passage that is often overlooked: “own”. They dug their own pit out of the rock. They had ownership. They called the shots. Their pit couldn’t hold water for long, but they were willing to live with the situation to remain independent from God.

I too have made the choice to be independent. The choice gave me control (or the illusion of it). It let me decide what would be best, even if it was tainted with painful consequences. And like water pits that need constant filling because of cracks, my independent life needed constant attention.

Living Water

The alternative presented by Jeremiah is living water. We can have living water that always passes quality control and doesn’t need to be stored. It provides healing and gives wholeness, or what the Jews call “Shalom.” That word is more than “peace.” It’s a sense of well-being and joy that is not dictated by circumstances. It’s contentment and trust that God will provide all we need, when we need it.

  • Do you feel whole or are you feeling broken?
  • Has past trauma from a deployment or relationship left gashes in your soul that you don’t think will ever heal?
  • Does the anger and gnawing feeling inside sit just below the surface and you don’t think you can control it much longer?

All these are signs that you need to be made whole with God’s living water.

You can choose this water, but it will require you to surrender to God. That concept is counter to the warrior mindset because warriors never give up. Surrendering to God is not a call to stop trying, become a couch potato, and let Him do all the work. That demotes God to E-1 status. It’s a call to give up calling the shots in your life. It’s a call to let God and His Word guide your every decision and choice. It’s a call to trust God to provide just what you need.

God is not a dictator, but a wise Commander who knows what is best for you. Are you ready to trust Him for all-satisfying, soul-refreshing water?

In article photo: Down the Hatch by the U.S. Marines licensed by CC BY-NC 2.0

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