“For not by might does one prevail.’”

Hannah’s Prayer, 1 Samuel 2:9 (NRSV)

The River Dan

“Living water” means “moving water,” clean water rippling through brooks and fountains, and rivers. Not far from where Hannah lived, the sparkling blue Dan River bubbles up and tumbles out, one of the most beautiful sights in all Israel. It is the largest of the Jordan River’s three tributaries, and flows from the melted snow on Mount Hermon. Like the strength of a cascading river, Hannah could say with confidence, “not by might,” but by persevering faith. It was surely not the first time Hannah prayed for God’s favor. But when it was time, Eli gave Hannah the word from God she was longing for, a word that would reassure her she was noticed, she mattered, and she would receive the blessing that had long been barred to her.

Every year Hannah heard of God’s blessing and favor through the parted Red Sea, water that flowed from rocks in the wilderness at God’s command, the Jordan which parted as Israel passed into the Promised Land. Every year God cause the flow of rain from the sky, streams to ripple in their hilly, rocky land, and underground springs to feed their wells. Mightier than a conquering army, God’s blessing of fresh water enabled the Israelites to prevail.

Zechariah’s prophesy of salvation foreshadowed Jesus’s proclamation on the temple steps, “Let anyone who believes in me drink … out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”

Christmas Carol

No more let sins and sorrows grow
nor thorns infest the ground;
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as, far as the curse is found.

“Joy to the World” Isaac Watts (1719)


Lord, we thank You for the cleansing flow of Your forgiveness whenever we come to You in confession, and for giving us fresh draughts of Your living water, that Your Spirit may well up in us a fountain of life. (John 4:10, 1 John 1:9)

“Knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.”

Zechariah’s Prophecy, Luke 1:77 (NRSV)
By El Greco – Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork, Public Domain

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