Sunday, September 12, 2010

Caffeinated Water or Living Water

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 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

We are a people obsessed with bottled water. It’s convenient. It’s healthy. It has become more expensive than soda at some places. It creates a lot of trash.

For a time someone was marketing caffeinated bottle water. I suppose it balanced things out. We could hydrate and dehydrate ourselves at the same time. But, if they ever come out with decaffeinated water, well, that’s where I draw the line.

Water was celebrated at the feast Jesus attended. During the first seven days, the priests and the people made a procession to the pool of Siloam with a golden pitcher. They collected water to pour on the altar, in commemoration of the water that God provided to the Israelites in the desert (Numbers 20), which was a symbol of Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:4). (Source: The Fourfold Gospel)

As the Jews were celebrating the water that God miraculously provided to His people in the desert centuries before, Jesus stood up and said, “Oh, by the way, this miraculous water, well, that comes from me.” While we need to thankfully look back and remember the times that God has provided for our needs, we also need to remember that the book on His miracles hasn’t been sealed. In fact, Jesus says, this living water, this flow of the Spirit is something that all believers possess.

The flow of the Spirit is part of the life of every believer. But, why does it seem more evident in the life of some believers, but not in others? The Spirit’s flow is not like a flood that sweeps us away. What happens in us and through us comes largely by our choice. Do we want to plunge into that river with abandon? Do we just want to stick a toe in? Or would we rather just set up an umbrella and a chair on the riverbank and just relax and enjoy the day?

The limitation on the unlimited flow of God’s Spirit lies with you and me. How do we enter that flow? We simply ask. We don’t need elaborate or spooky prayers. All that we need is a simple request like “God guide me in this decision.” “God help me in this relationship.” “God use me to touch others today.” Then, pay attention to what happens next.

When I’m in the flow of God’s Spirit, I am calmer (not necessarily calm, but calm-er). I find that I am more understanding of others. I tend to be more creative. When I am out of the flow, I am critical. I am negative. I am down on everybody and everything, even if I don’t let on.

My life is beyond my control. And, believe me, at times I have tried to desperately control my life only to drive myself crazy. My life is more than I can control. Giving up the control of my life to God and plunging into the flow of the Spirit gives tremendous freedom. Things that I worry about melt away. While I don’t always understand how God works, I do know that outcomes are in His hands, not mine.

What is blocking the flow of the Spirit in your life today? Is it not asking? Is it depending on yourself or something else? Are you just completely distracted by what’s around you that you don’t even think about it?

As a believer, there is a living, dynamic force available to you. He will elevate you beyond where your heart and mind typically go. He will empower you to be the person you’ve dreamed of being. He will enable you to overcome the adversity that surrounds you. Start the flow.

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