19 August 2010 10:48:38

Hezekiah channelled life-giving water underground to the inhabitants of the earthly Jerusalem, but Jesus channels the life of the Holy Spirit unseen into the hearts of those who belong to the heavenly Jerusalem.

The Life of Hezekiah stands out from the rest of the kings as the full moon stands out from the stars in the night sky.

2 Kings 18:5 says of him, "Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel.

There was no-one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him".

The name Hezekiah in Hebrew means "God is my strength" and is partly derived from the root HHAZAQ which is translated as "to hold fast, be strong, be courageous".

Why was Hezekiah such an outstanding king? The answer is found in 2 Kings 18:6–7, "He followed the Lord in everything, and carefully obeyed all of God's commands to Moses.

So the Lord was with him and prospered everything he did" (TLB).

His ardent desire to worship and obey God transformed the faithless and idolatrous nation into a people that once again turned their hearts towards the Lord.

There are many renowned episodes from Hezekiah's life that demonstrate his qualities of faith, determination, prayerfulness and encouragement.

However, let's look at one of his lesser-known achievements which is nonetheless full of spiritual teaching.

In the scorching heat and arid landscape of the Middle East, water is a very precious commodity.

There are very few rivers and so most water was obtained by sinking wells deep into the rock strata where there were vast underground reservoirs.

In the Old Testament, wells are a recurring theme, particularly in the lives of the patriarchs such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Where they found water, there could be life and a thriving community.

Where there was no water there would only be death.

In some places springs of water would issue from the ground and provide water.

Jerusalem was built on a series of hills and did not have its own natural water supply.

Just outside the city walls however, the Gihon spring supplied water for its inhabitants.

This meant that Jerusalem was particularly vulnerable to attack from its enemies who, by laying siege to the city, could command and cut off the water supply.

Hezekiah was a great builder.

He restored the temple and built fortified cities throughout Judah, but perhaps his greatest engineering project was to safeguard Jerusalem's water supply.

We read in 2 Chronicles 32:1–5 that when King Sennacherib of Assyria planned to besiege Jerusalem, Hezekiah organised "a huge work crew to block [the springs outside the city], and to cut off the brook running through the fields" (TLB).

According to 2 Kings 20:20 he then arranged for workmen to dig an underground tunnel from Gihon spring into the city.

The waters flowed into Jerusalem where they formed the Pool of Siloam, which is referred to in the New Testament (John 9:7–11).

In 1880 a young boy wading in this pool went into the entrance to the tunnel and found an inscription celebrating the completion of the work dating back to 702 BC.

The stone bearing the inscription is now in the Orient Museum in Istanbul, but if you visit Jerusalem today you can actually walk through Hezekiah's tunnel and relive Bible history.

Water in the Bible represents life. Water can even transform the searing desert into a luxuriant oasis.

Jesus said that those who believed on him would have within them a spring of living water that represented the same Holy Spirit who brought life to the original creation (John 7:37–39).

Without the Holy Spirit our faith will be dry and lifeless but with Him our lives will be a fountain of spiritual blessings that will flow out to others.

Hezekiah channelled life-giving water underground to the inhabitants of the earthly Jerusalem, but Jesus channels the life of the Holy Spirit unseen into the hearts of those who belong to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Even though we might be surrounded by enemies laying siege to our faith and emotions, we have access to unseen reservoirs of God's vast strength and power.

It was that unseen flow of God's life that inspired Hezekiah to initiate revival in an idolatrous nation, gave Daniel courage in the lions' den and caused Paul to sing praises in prison.

In the midst of difficulty we can not only survive but actually thrive and flourish because God is our strength.

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