by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
"A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon." (Song of Solomon 4:15)
There are eight verses in the Bible with the phrase "living water": four in the Old Testament, four in the New. All beautifully describe a spiritual truth under the figure of a flowing stream of refreshing water.
The first of these (in our text above) is a portion of the description of the lovely character of a bride as seen by her coming bridegroom, almost certainly symbolic of the Lord and His people. But then, through the prophet, God laments that "my people . . . have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:13). "They have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters" (Jeremiah 17:13). One day they shall return, however, and Zechariah prophesies that "living waters shall go out from Jerusalem. . . . And the Lord shall be king over all the earth" (Zechariah 14:8-9).
In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus appropriated this metaphor to Himself as He spoke to a woman of Samaria: "If thou knewest the gift of God . . . he would have given thee living water" (John 4:10; see also v. 11). "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14). Later in Jerusalem He cried out to all, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said |referring, no doubt, to the above Old Testament passages|, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-38). Then, in the last book of the Bible is found a special promise for those who die for the Lord's sake. "|He| shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" (Revelation 7:17). HMM