Piper: God Is a Mountain Spring

“God has no needs that I could ever be required to satisfy. God has no deficiencies that I might be required to supply. He is complete in Himself. He is overflowing with happiness in the fellowship of the Trinity.

The upshot of this is that God is a mountain spring, not a watering trough. A mountain spring is self-replenishing. It constantly overflows and supplies others. But a watering trough needs to be filled with a pump or bucket brigade. So if you want to glorify the worth of a watering trough, you work hard to keep it full and useful.

But if you want to glorify the worth of a spring, you do it by getting down on your hands and knees and drinking to your heart’s satisfaction, until you have the refreshment and strength to go back down in the valley and tell people what you’ve found.

You do not glorify a mountain spring by dutifully hauling water up the path from the river below and dumping it in the spring. God is a mountain spring, not a watering trough. And since that is the way God is, we are not surprised to learn from Scripture that the way to please God is to come to Him to get and not to give, to drink and not to water. He is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.

My hope as a desperate sinner, who lives in a Death Valley desert of unrighteousness, hangs on this biblical truth: the God is the kind of God who will be pleased with the one thing I have to offer—my thirst.

This is why the sovereign freedom and self-sufficiency of God are so precious to me: they are the foundation of my hope that God is delighted not by the resourcefulness of bucket brigades, but by the bending down of broken sinners to drink at the fountain of grace.”

-John Piper, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God, 196-197.

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