People will always settle near water. That’s because our bodies need water to live; without it, we’ll survive only a few days.
For Jerusalem in Bible times, this meant that its position could be most vulnerable. Unlike many other cities in the Middle East, Israel’s capital had no river.
So when there was drought or when the city was besieged, the water supply was always a critical question. It was a good thing that Jerusalem was blessed by God with reliable springs.
Psalm 46 is about a time when Jerusalem is in trouble. There is violent unrest in creation, and wars among the nations. It could be that the city is even under siege. But despite these severe threats to their well-being, the people are completely confident in the LORD’s protection.
They will not fear, but they will gladly sing this chorus, says verse 4:
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.
It is true that the city had no river, but she did have the LORD. And the LORD will make her glad with his goodness! Even in her time of distress he will sustain her, like a river of water blessing the thirsty.
In Scripture God often compares himself and his grace to refreshing waters, because it is by his presence and power that his people have life. For instance, David sings to the LORD in Psalm 36:8-9, “You give them drink from your river of delights, for with you is the fountain of life.”
In the New Testament too, Jesus says that the pouring out of his Holy Spirit will be like a flood of water.
Christ announces in John 7:38-39,
Whoever believes in me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.
For when the Holy Spirit enters a person, their shrivelled heart begins to thrive. The deadness of sin is removed, the filth of corruption is washed away, and the Spirit builds a beautiful fountain of joy and love and peace. When we believe in Christ, his life-giving Spirit fills us with blessing.
If you have the Holy Spirit, then you will know this: that He is like a river of water on the dry ground of your heart, making you alive for God.
There is a river of living water—flowing from Christ and his Holy Spirit, flowing to us, and even flowing from us. For the living waters that are in you today can become a blessing to other people, truly “making glad” the city of God.
Through Christ and his Spirit, you have a mighty resource for life: to refresh those who are needy and struggling, even to enliven those who are dead. Freely you have received, freely give!