The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him. (NIV)
One of the first things taught in school geography lessons is the hydrologic or water cycle. This is because water is vital to life. Without water we die, which is why wars may be triggered by access to water in the future. Just last week the media reported that certain Egyptian politicians had voiced opinions that military action could be justified against Ethiopia because the Ethiopians refuse to halt a dam/hydroelectric project that might restrict future downstream flows of water in the River Nile.
The River Nile has always been important to Egypt, but with a growing population the country has become increasingly reliant on the Nile due to its dependence on agriculture. Wikipedia suggests that the River Nile has been used to irrigate crop-growing areas for five thousand years. The translation in Strong’s of the Hebrew word used in Proverbs 21:1 for rivers refers to irrigation channels. Such manmade channels are still in use around the world to direct precious flows of water to sustain crops and bring them to the point where they can be harvested. While different methods may be used in more intensive agriculture the principle remains the same. For crops to grow and mature, water and nutrients are essential.
The parallels with spiritual growth are obvious. In Psalm 1:1-3 the Psalmist talks of the joy of those who turn their back on the world and delight in doing what God wants.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail. (Psalm 1:3 NLT).
In John 4:1-13 Jesus tells a Samaritan woman about living water, stating in verses 13-14
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
In John 7:38-39 Jesus speaks again about living water stating:
“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
It isn’t rocket science. Just like crops need a constant supply of water to grow, so we need to drink of the living water that Jesus Christ offers. We need to be irrigated by this living water, and we need it to become a spring of life welling up inside of us. A constant and endless supply of this living water is available to all, living water that will not only flow into us, but out of us.