“Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.” (Ps 77:19)
We can see the surface of the dichotomy of water reflected in the Bible. He leads me beside the still waters (Ps 23:2), while His throne in heaven is surrounded by water (Ezek. 47:1-12). His son came down to earth as the Living Water (John 4:13-14), while in the day of Noah, the earth was flooded with water. How was it that only one family remained after this tragedy? Wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water (1Pet 3:20).
Others were saved by water. Remember the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea? The miraculous parting of the sea that saved His chosen fell back into place and drowned their enemies. (Ex. 15:4-6)
And when the Israelites became thirsty as they wandered in the wilderness, God miraculously and mysteriously made a fountain from a rock for them to drink from. It pictured Christ, the Living Water, and was a place of testing for them. Would they believe God or not? Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah Selah. (Psa. 81:7).
In Christ’s day, there was a pool of water in Jerusalem that an angel would occasionally stir, and whatever infirm person was first into the pool after the stirring of the water would be healed (John 5:4). But one day Jesus walked by, fastened his eyes on one impotent man who had suffered from some infirmity for 38 years, and simply spoke healing to him, and he was healed (5:9). He was saved by Water of a different kind.
For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. (Psa. 36:9)
People who need healing (mental, emotional and physical) turn to all kinds of things for healing and reprieve. Some of those things might work for awhile, but the secret is that healing is with the Lord, and there is no substitute. For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (Jer. 2:13) Don’t run from the living water. Draw from it. Make no other substitutes.
Now let’s look at the more severe nature of water. It is the stuff of storms—literally and figuratively. While we don’t know why storms come into our lives, often unexpectedly, we know one secret: Jesus is in control of it all. What looms to drown us is simply a walking path for Jesus. (Matt. 14:22-33). He walked on the stormy sea and impressed Peter enough that Peter asked if he could also walk on the water. And he did, until he saw the boisterous wind. He had enough presence of mind to pray “save me,” and Jesus did. But the lesson was O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? The waters were his testing ground.
Remember the mysterious verse we are looking at: Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. (Psa. 77:19) Jesus is equally unaffected with waters, choppy or calm. Once he was asleep in the boat with the disciples during a storm, and they woke him and asked Him to save them or they would perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! (Matt. 8:26-27)
It escaped them, and often us, that God made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in it. (Psa. 146:6) Turbulence to us is finger painting to God. His very voice is associated with the roaring of water. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder. (Rev. 14:2a) No less than five verses describe his voice as like that of many waters.
Hopefully, we’ve caught a glimpse of the mysteries of God in water. There’s one more to think about: There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most high. (Psa. 46:4) God’s throne is surrounded by water from which the tree of life grows that we will be able to eat freely from. (Rev. 22:1-2) The mysteries of water will be made plain when we see Him. For now, waters show us the perfect mercies, judgment and testing of God.