“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me… streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
– John 7:37-39
“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.”
– Revelation 7:17
Every now and then things in life come together in unexpected ways. An old friend used to call it “God-incidence”. It happened just now. I got an email from a friend visiting Israel which spoke to the subject of a phone conversation with a friend in North Carolina which tapped into a Spirit nudge from a few months ago which followed on a church quiet day a few months before that. One degree of separation, four times in a row? Time to pay attention!
All the messages were in one way or another about Living Water.
The friend in Jerusalem writes that he visited a place and learned that in ancient Israel the tribe of Dan disobeyed God and took land they weren’t supposed to take. Afterwards they didn’t look for living water (running water or spring water) but built cisterns, which ended up being a fatal mistake when the cisterns cracked. Net result, the tribe of Dan was eventually lost to history.
The friend in North Carolina is struggling to live the Christian faith (and making more progress than she knows) but has been trying to “be Christian” in her own strength. She received a gentle reminder that it is God who makes us holy, and He doesn’t just fill us with His Spirit once, He keeps on filling us, keeps on working with us from the inside out, every minute of every day.
That’s why Paul says we are to “pray unceasingly” — because we need Him all the time. Granted I don’t think about God every minute of every day but there are days when I feel like I’m praying “I need You Lord!” every ten minutes. “Lord,” I prayed a few months ago, “don’t You ever get tired of my asking You for help? Don’t You ever get tired of my needing You all the time? I feel like such a child!” “You are My child” — a reassurance that I was made for Him, made in such a way that He fills every need, by design. Meeting His childrens’ needs requires intimacy, and that’s what He’s after.
A few months before that, at a church quiet day, I’d asked Him why I couldn’t just hold onto Him, be filled with Him and stay filled. Apart from the obvious (my heart is nowhere near large enough to hold Him) the whole purpose of His life and His Spirit is not to stay in us but to flow through us to others. We can only be filled with His Spirit when that Spirit is flowing outward and onward to other destinations.
Kind of like Living Water.