Water ... that is a consistent Biblical image for revival. When we are born about 78% of our bodies are water. While this percentage drops to about 60% in adult men, we are still mostly water. Most people can go 3 weeks without food, but after 3 days without water, our survival is questionable. Water is essential. And, for the Christian, revival is water.
There are many Biblical images of water as God's restoring power. Two that come to mind are Jesus at Jacob's well talking with the Samaritan woman. In the village of Sychar Jesus allows a Samaritan woman to draw Him a drink. In the ensuing conversation which reveals the nature and sinfulness of the Samaritan woman, Jesus tells the woman that He has living water which eternally quenches thirst. Of course, Jesus is referring to spiritual thirst, but the image is powerful. It is so powerful it is carried over to our Communion setting in which we drink from the well of forgiveness and restore our dry bones. The woman does two things. She desires this water given by the man she calls a great prophet. And when she hears Jesus' call and realizes He is the Messiah she goes and gets her friends. She proclaims (as any evangelist) "He told me everything I ever did!" The image of water here is about truth, forgiveness, and the Lord coming to the time and place of harvest.
Another image of water is in Isaiah 41:17-20. God says, through Isaiah, that He will answer the cries of the poor who search for water. The water will flow in the mountains, the valleys and the deserts. It will be so abundant that trees will grow in places trees won't usually grow. The water revives and restores the land and the people to productivity.
In both of these accounts the water brings life from unexpected places. Life and faith spring up from the ne'er-do-well Samaritans, those outcast from the Jews and 'chosen' ones. Restoration springs up from the dry bones of Israel as they thirst for life from the depths of their neglect and even the Northern Kingdom, decimated by Assyria, is oddly connected to Jesus' conversation with a woman of Samaria, former capital of the Northern Kingdom.
For us there are too many parallels to count. Many are lost and don't even know it. Nations, including ours, have drifted into the same neglect and spiritual lethargy we see in the Hebrews of Isaiah's time. We all trudge back and forth to the well for water that doesn't last as we fill our days with non-eternal things that are blown away with the wind. We cry out like the thirsty and poor of Isaiah, Chapter 41. This promise is for us! Leonard Cohen, in the song Suzanne, says Jesus realized "only drowning men will seek Him." We are drowning. When we are needy and realize our need for God, God will restore His people because of His greatness. May we be the people who know our need for Him and seek His face at this time when He so desires to give us living water from the well that never runs dry! Revive us Lord! Randy