Revelation 7:17 says, “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Other translations refer to the springs of living water as “living fountains of waters” (NKJV) or the “springs of the water of life” (CSB).
A spring (or a fountain) is a geographical feature in which ground water beneath the earth rises naturally to the surface. The Bible frequently uses the imagery of a spring to describe the abundant life that God provides His people. Psalm 36:9 says, “For with you is the fountain of life,” and Isaiah 49:10b says, “He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.”
In Revelation 7:17, the phrase springs of living water is a reference to the eternal life found in Jesus.
The context of Revelation 6—7 includes the opening of the seven seals of judgment and the listing of the 144,0000 Jewish evangelists who are promised protection during the time of the tribulation (Revelation 7:1–8). In Revelation 7:9, John references a “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language,” robed in white and holding palm branches. One of the elders present at the scene says, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). The elder goes on to poetically describe these individuals and says that the Lamb—who is also the Shepherd—will lead them to “living fountains of waters.”
In context, then, the “them” of Revelation 7:17 is a reference to this great multitude made up of people from throughout the world who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. They are redeemed. They are led to “springs of living water” and will have every tear wiped from their eyes.
In John 4, Jesus talks to a Samaritan woman as she gathers water from a local well. He tells her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13–14).
Jesus is the living fountain of water that leads to eternal life for all who place their faith in Him. Water that comes from within the earth provides life to all who come and drink from it. In the same way, the “water” that comes from within Christ provides satisfaction and eternal life to all who come and drink from Him.