It’s amazing how a particular subject or theme has a way of repeatedly appearing over a short time and from unconnected sources. First in a book perhaps, then the same thing pops up in conversation or in the words of a song or in the Bible itself. When that happens you might just think someone is trying to tell you something!
For me over a period of several days it has been the theme of “The River”. First of all someone mentioned it – later it came to my mind strongly in the words of Jesus to the woman at the well in Sychar, then in unconnected books I am reading, later in a piece of music entitled “River Flows In You” [Yaruma] as well as in the Bible itself.
I know this subject has been spoken about, preached upon and written about exhaustively – but none of that prepares you a revelation of what it might mean for you personally. Of course in the Bible the river is primarily a picture of the of the Holy Spirit. It is Jesus himself who so clearly reveals this in his conversation with the woman mentioned above – a story which has impacted me strongly again in the course of the last few weeks –
“If you believe in Me, the Hebrew Scriptures say that rivers of living water will flow from within you.”
John 7:38 [The Voice]
At least some of the scriptures Jesus is referring to come from the OT prophet Isaiah – I think it is worthwhile and instructive to repeat them here –
“Like a devoted gardener, I [God] will pour sweet water on parched land,
streams on hard-packed ground;
I will pour My spirit on your children and grandchildren—
and let My blessing flow to your descendants.”
Isaiah 44:3 [The Voice]
“If you are thirsty, come here;
come, there’s water for all.
Whoever is poor and penniless can still
come and buy the food I sell.
There’s no cost—here, have some food, hearty and delicious,
and beverages, pure and good.”
Isaiah 55:1 [The Voice]
“The Eternal One will never leave you;
He will lead you in the way that you should go.
When you feel dried up and worthless,
God will nourish you and give you strength.
And you will grow like a garden lovingly tended;
you will be like a spring whose water never runs out.”
Isaiah 58:11 [The Voice]
Of all that is contained in these verses and promises two things stand out for me. The first is the personal application of the promises – they are for you – for me! Note how often the word “you” is used in these statements. The promise of Jesus is – “Living water will flow from within you.” Not only the preacher or the pastor, the healer or the evangelist – not someone else – but from you and me! I have been very guilty in the past of expecting others to be the ones God will use, others that God will lead, others God will speak to and through, others he will anoint with authority and power – but the stark truth is the promise is for me and for you!
The second thing that strikes me in these scriptures, and impressions is that The River flows for those who are thirsty, parched, desperate! John van Ruysbroeck wrote –
“The rivers of the grace of God pour forth, and the more we taste of them, the more we long to taste; and the more we long to taste, the more deeply we press into contact with Him; and the more deeply we press into contact with God, the more the flood of His sweetness flows through us and over us; and the more we are thus drenched and flooded, the better we feel and know that the sweetness of God is incomprehensible and unfathomable.”
John van Ruysbroeck – [The Sparkling Stone]
I believe that it is when we appropriate, believe, accept, rejoice in, and begin walking in the truth that The River – The Holy Spirit is flowing in and from us that God can do things in and through us we may consider at this moment are impossible and beyond belief. This is true even if, and perhaps because of, the fact that today we may feel like those spoken of in Isaiah who feel – “Dried up and worthless.” The refreshing River is for you today!
May we all have the thirst, the passion and the faith to believe He can flow from us! May we taste, may we long – may be be satisfied and may we be channels of The River in our world and communities! May we – “Be like a spring whose water never runs out.”
“You spend time on the good earth,
watering and nourishing the networks of the living.
God’s river is full of water!”
Psalm 65 [The Voice]