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What Are You Thirsty For?

I don’t like the taste of Powerade.

To me it’s just a disagreeably sicky sweet salty taste. I’ll drink water, or diet drinks (yes I know they’re not good for me), or even a chocolate frappacino once in a while.

But I never drink Powerade.

That all changed one Sunday morning.

A few miles into my half-marathon, I approached the first drink station. They were handing out cups of both water and Powerade. Normally, I would have reached towards the water without even a thought. But as I looked at both, suddenly my brain was swinging my arm towards the Powerade. I reached out and took a few swigs as I kept running.

Whoa. It tasted completely different than it had before. It tasted, like, really really good. It was six ounces of blue heaven in a cup.

What was going on? What happened? I couldn’t figure it out. The scientist in me kicked in, and I promised myself that I would run a test and drink water at the next station.

The next station came, and I got ready to enjoy some clean, cold, refreshing water. But instead I got this bleah stuff swirling in my mouth that I knew was water, but somehow it wasn’t refreshing. It didn’t seem to satisfy me. I was no longer thirsty for it.

Still not convinced, I decided to switch back to that drink I couldn’t stand at the next station. And once again, that revolting Powerade tasted like pure heaven to my taste buds.

What happened? Had they changed the taste of Powerade or of water? I knew the answer: the drink had not changed, but the drinker. I was losing calories and electrolytes in the run, and my body was automatically adjusting my taste buds to reflect what I really needed. Because I had changed, what I was thirsty for changed.

That little incident on a street in downtown Knoxville reminds me of one of the most sobering questions I have ever asked myself: What are you thirsty for, John?

This time, I’m not talking about a thirsty body, but a thirsty soul. I look at my soul straight in the face and ask it, “Soul, what are you thirsty for?”

The answer isn’t pretty. So often my soul thirsts for pretty useless stuff– the latest gadget, a little mindless TV, one more piece of pie. And the darker, soul-destroying thirsts of sin are ever present as well. Isn’t it strange that we so often want life out of what we know will actually kill us instead?

I know that if you take an honest look at your own soul you’ll see some ugly thirsts too. That’s part of belonging to the human race, my friend.

So what do we do? How do handle these thirsts within our soul?

There are three options, only three, open to you. The first is to try and quench your thirst with what your soul is thirsty for. Freely indulge that addiction, go for the gusto, live your life pursuing pleasure, or power, or prestige, or peace, or whatever your soul says it needs.

There’s one huge problem with that approach: your soul is not like my body was on race day: it doesn’t know what it should be thirsty for. Our souls have all been warped by our fallenness. If we are willing to take an honest look we can all see it: many foolish decisions, many mistakes, many lives hurt because of our souls being thirsty for the wrong things.

The second approach to the thirsty soul is to quiet it. This is the approach of some religions, that of realizing that soul thirst can never be fully quenched in a fallen world, and so they decide to try and kill thirst instead. If desire inevitably brings suffering, then they say we must eliminate desire.

The problem with this approach is obvious: convincing a man in a desert that he doesn’t need water doesn’t stop him from dying of thirst. Our souls are thirsty. They must drink. Pretending that we have no soul desires is both futile and deadly.

So, if our soul’s thirst can neither be quenched nor quieted, what can we do? The answer lies in what happened during my run: my thirst was changed. What my brain desired was shifted to what my body needed, and the result was a new thirst that was a positive force for my good.

So, how does that work on a soul level? What does my soul really need? What is its “Powerade,” and how can I change my thirst to match it?

Jesus answered this very question, while talking to a woman at a well…

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” ( John 4:10-14 )

It’s so simple: the thirst of our soul is meant to be a thirst for the presence of God. No other drink will do. And God in His grace gives us a new thirst for Him when He gives us a new life, and gives us a spring of water in the Holy Spirit.

Think about what the presence of God is for the soul. First, God’s presence is perfect: there is no better nourishment possible for our souls, because God created our souls to receive life from Him.

His presence is also pure: there is nothing evil, nothing harmful, nothing but good to be gotten from God. His presence is powerful: our lives are transformed as we live in Him.

Finally, His presence is permanent. As Jesus said to the woman, those who are Christ’s have a well that will never run dry. God is now always with us, always available to relieve our soul’s thirst, and we shall live in His presence for all eternity.

Perfect, pure, powerful, permanent: God’s gift of His presence in the Spirit is all these things, and a thousand more.

Since my soul is still fallen, I still have these other thirsts, other things that my foolish soul sometimes thinks will give me refreshment. But now I have an answer when I feel the thirst, when my soul asks “What am I thirsty for?”

I simply answer back, “Soul, what are you really thirsty for, down deep, in the spirit God gave you when He gave you a new life?” And I smile, and hear God say, “Drink, my son, drink deep and long of the fountain I have put within you, and be refreshed.”

Book Review: Forgotten God by Francis Chan

Francis Chan is on a mission to change Western Christianity.

Not a mission to make us better informed, or more culturally relevant, or even more doctrinally correct.

He is on a mission for us to walk with the “Forgotten God,” the Holy Spirit. He calls the Holy Spirit such because he affirms that although we say we know and walk with Him, our lives testify otherwise:

“The light of the American church is flickering and nearly extinguished, having largely sold out to the kingdoms and values of this world.”

“When was the last time you were saddened because your sin pained the Holy Spirit?”

“Has anyone ever been amazed by your peace? Love? Joy? Have they ever envied your self-control? Have you ever prayed that God would so fill you with the Spirit that people would know that the change could only be empowered by the Spirit?”

So this is not a book on doctrine or strategies. It’s a desperate cry for us to look at ourselves, see how lost we are living in our own strength while giving lip service to God, and repent and turn to Him.

Yes, Chan desires that we come to know and walk with the Spirit in an intimate & powerful way, but he is careful to state that this is not to be an end unto itself: the Holy Spirit is not at our disposal, but we should be at His. Chan sees the Holy Spirit not as the key to “your best life now,” but to a lifestyle that promises to be “radical and terrifying,” one that brings not comfort to ourselves, but glory to God.

In a way, this book is the next step beyond his first book, Crazy Love. In it, Chan urged us toward lives that were obsessed with God & His Kingdom. Now in Forgotten God he shows us the only way to do it: through the God Who lives in us.

There is no Christian who does not need to read this book. It has my highest recommendation. Here’s the first pages to start you out:

Forgotten God, by Francis Chan

Satan Loves Excited Christians

revival 

No, that’s not a typo in the title.  Yes, I know that needs explaining. 

This is actually the first article in a whole series that I am writing as I slowly work my way through A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, a book by Jonathan Edwards, the 18th century philospher, writer, theologian, pastor, and president of Princeton University.  A whole group of Christian bloggers are going through this book together, led by Mr. Uber-Blogger himself Tim Challies.  I plan not to summarize everything that Edwards is saying in this very challenging and complex book, but each week to take out one important idea that is worth reflecting on and applying to our own lives. 

Edwards wrote Religious Affections in the 18th century during what became known as The First Great Awakening.  What was The Great Awakening?  It was a complex phenomenon, but basically the experience of what it meant to live a Christian life changed radically for many people during that time.  People became more emotional, more passionate, and more excited about following God.  As a result, many practices both within the church and in individual lives dramatically shifted, and there was much talk as to whether they shifted for good or ill.  Edwards wrote Religious Affections to meticulously examine the role of emotion and passion in religion from both a theological, philosophical, and practical perspective.  His insight and perspectives on this subject have influenced theologians down to the present day.

What Edwards wrote was no “ivory tower” academic posturing.  He was regarded as one of the leaders of the Great Awakening, and took heavy criticsm from both “old school” and “new school” pastors.  Many said his appeals to emotion and life change were dangerous and inappropriate.  But he also was very concerned about objective truth and maintaining Bible-based doctrine, and garnered himself enemies when he spoke out against pastors and practices that he saw had went too far in their reforms and new ways of doing things.

The book attempts to answer the question “What is the nature of true religion, and what practices actually please God?”  He looks at the subject from both a negative perspective (things that may appear to please God but don’t) and from a positive perspective (things that we can assure ourselves truly do please God).

In the book’s preface he explains why he wrote the book.  He correctly sees that when people become involved and excited about something new and became emotionally invested in it, the “rose-colored glasses” effect comes into play.  People become less concerned about whether what they believe in and practice is Biblical, because it is exciting and seems to work.  As a result, wrong and false beliefs and practices creep in unawares, which lead people off track and end up making a mess of everything. 

This is a much more serious problem than most people, then or now, give it credit.  Edward states:

It is by the mixture of counterfeit religion with true, not discerned and distinguished, that the devil has had his greatest advantage against the cause and kingdom of Christ.

That (like everything else in the 300+ pages in this book) is a mouthful.  It’s much easier to say, “Satan loves excited Christians.”  Not that excitement is bad, but that it can cloud our vision.  Edwards goes on to give a list of all the results of this clouded vision and mixing in of off-track ideas and practices in with the true.  Here is my 21st-century re-do of his list: 

  • Satan loves when people are excited about doing things that they think please God, when in actuality they are displeasing God.
  • Satan loves when people think that their souls are in good shape with God, when in fact they are far away from His blessing.
  • Satan loves when people forget about what God truly values as pure religion (which the apostle James defined as helping the poor and being holy) because they’re so excited in their religious worship experiences and other “exciting” stuff.
  • Satan loves when people get excited and do openly foolish things (like claiming they can heal any disease or raise people from the dead) that give non-Christians plenty of ammo to attack and ridicule what they now see as Christianity.
  • Satan loves it when people excitedly think they’re helping God when they’re actually openly working against God, like giving financial support to someone who teaches doctrine that is actually against the Bible.
  • Satan loves it as people excitedly promote false ideas and religion and think they’re advancing the Kingdom of God, when they’re actually tearing it down.
  • Finally, Satan loves how false doctrine splits churches and denominations and friends, and causes people to spend time arguing with each other.  As a result, Satan can influence people to go to one extreme or another, and grow farther apart and farther out of the path of true religion.

That’s a pretty stark list.  Read it over again.  Think it over.  The question we all have to ask ourselves is, “Where have I been guilty of that in the past? Where am I guilty of that now?”

Edwards summarizes his “terrible consequences” of the mixture of truth and untruth in religion by saying:

God’s people in general have their minds unsettled in religion, and know not where to set their foot, or what to think, and many are brought into doubts, whether there be any thing at all in religion; and heresy, infidelity, and atheism greatly prevail.

If we’re serious about loving and pleasing God and advancing the Kingdom, then we need to be serious about getting excited in a good way about it, and guarding our souls from the twin evils of apathy and lack of discernment.  As the weeks go by I’ll explore these topics in greater depth.

No Longer a Slave

One of the most important realizations of the Christian life is that we no longer have to be a slave to how we feel. 

There are many words to describe the internal stirrings of our soul— desire, emotion, passion. No matter how rational or disciplined or principled we pride ourselves on being, it is this ever-changing sea of swirling emotional currents that we really ride the ship of our lives on.

Sometimes our emotions serve us well: like a steady river they can carry us to where we want to go.  Other times our desires seem to be in a dead calm and we can’t seem to go anywhere, don’t even feel like getting out of bed in the morning.  Worse, we may feel a strong current of anxiety, anger, lust, or pride pulling us toward a destination that we know will end in misery.  Most days, we feel like we’re in a chaotic storm of every emotion in the book pulling us in a dozen directions at once.

But because of Christ, it doesn’t have to be this way.  Paul saw that we have both desires inspired by the Holy Spirit and desires inspired by our old nature, the flesh:

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatian 5:17)

But because of Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin & its desires (Romans 6).  When we feel a tugging to leave the presence of God, whether through anger or anxiety or lust or pride, we can tell ourselves that we are children of God and servants of righteousness– we don’t have to follow that emotion, that desire, into sin.  We are free to love & follow God.  As Paul says in Galatians 5:25,

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

We are no longer a slave to the swirling seas of our old nature. We can stay in the steady, sure current of the Spirit as it carries us ever closer to Christ.

A Simple Lesson on Being Led

Today at lunchtime family devotions I read Luke 4:1—

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness

I started out “What did the Holy Spirit do in this verse?”  The answer: The Spirit led Jesus.

Then I asked, “What happened before the Spirit led Jesus?”  Ah, this wasn’t as obvious.  My daughter ventured, “Jesus was baptized”— which was true, I added, but it wasn’t in verse 1.

I explained that part of learning about God and His ways was studying the Bible verse by verse, word by word, and knowing that each word is important, that each word and phrase is there for a reason.  So I answered that verse 1 says that before Jesus was led by the Spirit the Bible teaches us that he was full of the Holy Spirit.

I went on to explain that since we are to be Christians, Christ-like, Christ-followers, part of the reason the Gospels were written was for us to understand how Christ lived, for us to understand how to relate to God, to live and walk before God.  Why God let us know that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit before he was led by the Spirit is because He wants us to be full of the Holy Spirit before the Spirit leads us.

Then I asked my next question: “How are some ways that we can be full of the Holy Spirit?”  Everyone started jumping on this one, and everyone contributed to a list, which ended up being:

  1. Reading the Bible
  2. Praying
  3. Worshipping God
  4. Studying the Bible
  5. Obeying what the Bible says

I still have a long way to go on being consistent with family devotions, but I was reminded today that often just a simple thing, like talking about a single verse, can lead to teachable moments that can plant seeds of truth.

I also was reminded myself of that truth.  So often all of us talk about God’s will, wanting to find it for our lives, desiring to be led by the Holy Spirit.  How often, though, are we willing to do the hard work of reading, studying, and obeying the Bible daily, of consistent times of prayer and worship, that cause us to be filled with the Spirit who will then lead us through all the decisions and journeys of our lives?

Who are you listening to?

listen ear by Auntie K on FlickrAfter thinking about “Who are YOU looking at?” it was only a matter of time until I started wondering “Who are you listening to?”  And no, I don’t mean what music you have on your iPod, but rather the voice your soul is listening to.

Much has been said about our soul listening to the wrong voice, whether that is the voice of the culture around us(Romans 12:2), the voice of convincing but unwise friends(Psalm 1:1), or the voice of our own foolish and evil old hearts(Genesis 6:5).  All of these voices we must be cognizant of and learn to block out, as natural and appealing as they sometimes are.

You already know whose voice we ought to be listening to: the voice of our Shepherd, the voice of Christ(John 10:27).  Although it’s nice to say “I’m listening to Christ’s voice,” what does that really mean, how do we actually do it in day to day living?

The theologians have been battling over various aspects of how God speaks to us and how we listen for centuries, but let me discuss the one way that everybody agrees on: God speaks through the Holy Spirit illuminating the Scriptures.  In other words, as I read or hear or remember a passage from the Bible, the Holy Spirit who lives within me is illuminating, is speaking, is helping my intellect to understand the true meaning of the passage, what God is really saying.

So, let’s think about the three essential ingredients in that definition:

  1. The Bible: God cannot reveal the meaning of Scripture we don’t know, duh.  We can’t expect God to guide us without spending time daily in the Scriptures, both reading, re-reading, thinking (meditating), and memorizing.  I can certainly say that sometimes it was the 5th, or 10th, time through a passage until I really started understanding it.  And obviously God cannot guide us with Scripture when we don’t have a Bible in front of us unless we have memorized and internalized key passages(Psalm 199:11).
  2. The Holy Spirit: Not to belabor the obvious, but the most brilliant Bible scholar will never hear from God without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit(1 Corinthians 2:14).  This is not something we should take lightly or just assume: we should humbly, earnestly, prayerfully ask the Spirit to make clear what God is saying through the Scriptures.
  3. My Intellect: The Bible is an incredible thing: there is truth simple enough to give eternal life to a five year old, and yet deep and complex enough to still challenge the scholar who has studied it for decades. To think that God has nothing to say to the little child who has no knowledge of Greek or systematic theology is foolish, but to think that God does not want us to diligently apply ourselves to grow and mature in our ability to understand Scripture with our minds is equally foolish.

So, who are you listening to today?  And what steps will you take TODAY to improve your “listening ear” to the voice of God?

Meditation to the Holy Spirit

This is a short prayer based on a passage taken from John Owen’s book Communion With God:

Holy Spirit,
You are infinite love & kindness to me.
You have wonderfully chosen to be my Comforter.
You do this work willingly, freely, & powerfully.
What great things I have received from You!
How often you have comforted my soul.
Can I live one day without you?
I vow to focus on what You want to do within me.
I shall not grieve You by negligence, sin, or foolishness.
I will let Your love constrain me to walk before You
In such a way that will bring You the greatest pleasure,
For I love & treasure You and Your fellowship.

Unlimited Ammo

When you are playing a video game one of the most dreaded things that can happen is to run out of ammo.  I am sure it is a much more dreaded thing if you are in a real battle where your life is at stake. 

If you’re unsure of your ammo supply, you end up doing two things: (1) not taking many shots against the enemy and (2) living in fear.

What’s really great in a video game is to get a “unlimited ammo” power-up or cheat code while you’re playing.  Then you can fearlessly fire off as many rounds as you want, and there will always be more.

Say, wouldn’t it be great if life, real life, were that way? Never having to play it safe, never having to worry of running out of ammo against all the bad stuff we face day to day?

You know, it is that way already, at least if you’re a Christian:

The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (John 4:14, 7:38 The Message)

We really do have unlimited ammo, we have the Holy Spirit within us as an endless fountain of life and strength and wisdom if we will but abide in Christ.

 

What Makes the Difference?

Ok, scenario time:

Scenario 1: three people: a Mormon, a Buddhist, and a Christian, all devout, moral people.  All lose their beloved spouses in a tragic accident.  All are equally overcome with grief and sorrow, yet there is something different with the Christian—a comforting, a peace, that he can’t really explain yet he experiences.  What makes the difference?

Scenario 2: Same three people: discussing one of the parables of Jesus and what Jesus meant when He spoke.  All three are equally intelligent and equally knowledgeable about the passage in question, and yet the Christian grasps the true meaning of the passage in a way the other two cannot.  What makes the difference?

Scenario 3: Same three people: off on a business trip, staying at the same hotel, all three tempted to sexually compromise, all equally desire to remain true to their moral convictions, yet the Christian manifests a power to remain true to his convictions that the others do not.  What makes the difference?

This is rubber-meets-the-road theology: we say that a Christian is different, that God has changed us, but do we really mean it?  And if we do mean it, then what’s the Bible-grounded reasons, the theology, behind it?  And it we know the theology, then are we living out that theology?

The theology I’m talking about with the above three scenarios is not a “what” making the difference, but a “who”—  the Holy Spirit indwelling us.  This is the second in my series on the nature of salvation, how God c.h.a.n.g.e.d. us and saved us, Holy Spirit Indwelt (that’s the H in c.h.a.n.g.e.d. for those acrostically challenged out there).

There are many fine books on the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work within us and His indwelling (an excellent introduction is God in You : Releasing the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Life by David Jeremiah), but I would like to briefly focus on the above three scenarios that illustrate three very core and very practical aspects of the Spirit’s indwelling.

First, the Spirit is a comforter, a parakletos “one called alongside” literally in the Greek. Jesus knew that during this age while He was not physically present with us that we would need someone to comfort us, to emotionally and spiritually support us while living in this sin stricken world. 

Everyone recognizes John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  But what was Christ meaning when he said, “not as the world gives”— how does He give us this comfort?  The verse before gives the answer— “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name—”  When we have a supernatural need for comfort, like the death of a spouse, God has a supernatural answer— the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The second scenario illustrates the Holy Spirit as teacher.  Three times in the gospel of John Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of Truth.” Teaching and guiding us is a pivotal ministry of the Holy Spirit.  In 1 John 5:6 the apostle bluntly states, “The Spirit is truth.”  Paul says in 1 Cor 2:13 that believers learn “not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches.”  God is willing and eager to teach His children, if they but ask (James 1:5), and the channel of that supernatural teaching and understanding is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

But, simply knowing the truth does not change us, does not give us the power to live in holiness, as the third scenario illustrated.  Even with our new nature we are but human; our flesh, as Jesus reminded us, is weak.  God in His love has given us the Spirit to empower us to live in holiness. Jesus told the disciples that they would receive power for service (when?) when the Holy Spirit indwelt them (Acts 1:8).  Walter K. Price writes:

Christian characteristics are never the product of self-effort.  They are the fruit of the Spirit.  For self-effort can no more produce holiness in the Christian than it can produce a Christian itself.  We begin our Christian life in…the Spirit.  We are brought to spiritual maturity by means of the same Holy Spirit through His infilling power. It must be clearly understood, then, that one is no more able to live the Christian life in self-effort than he can save himself initially by self-effort.  We are enabled to live a life of holiness by the infilling of the Holy Spirit, for he does in us that which we are unable to do for ourselves.

So, where are you depending (or needing to depend) on the indwelling of the Spirit?  As your comforter?  Where can the Spirit minister to you?  As your teacher?  Have you specifically asked the Spirit for wisdom in decisions you are facing?  As your empowerer?  Look to the source of your strength today.

Living Water

 

 

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”  (John 7:37-38 ESV)

The apostle John speaks more of life than the other 3 gospels combined. It is one of the central themes he develops, that of true life being in and from Christ. Beginning in chapter 1, verse 3-4, John announces “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

“In him was life”— 4 incredible words.  Jesus, as creator and sovereign, both possesses life and gives life.

Then, in Christ’s dialogue with Nicodemus, he teaches the truth we all know by heart, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

But what is the nature of this eternal life?  We get a hint of one facet in the next chapter as Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman:

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”  Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:10-14 ESV)

Jesus, as He was fond of doing, took something at hand and created a word picture that vividly portrayed spiritual reality.  Jesus was offering her something, a “living water” that would become a spring, a fountain welling up to eternal life.

What exactly is this living water? First, it is important to know that in the Greek the word “living” is not an adjective but a verb. It is the difference between saying “hairy man” and “sweating man”— hairy being an adjective simply describes a static attribute of the man, while “sweating” being a verb describes something the man is doing.  So this water is active, it is living, you might even say it is giving and producing life. 

Much of what Jesus says tracks back to the Old Testament, and so do these words.  In Jeremiah 2:13 God accuses Israel of having, “committed two evils: they have forsaked me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

What a rich verse!  Israel (and all of us) forsake God, an inexhaustible source of freely flowing life (fountain), and instead we try through our own efforts to store up water for ourselves, even though our efforts our useless (broken cisterns).

Jesus is offering to this woman (and to us), “Look, your life is never going to work through your own efforts— you’ve tried and you’ve seen the results.  Turn from that, and I will give you God the Spirit Himself, a fountain of living water, that will create within you eternal life.”

Later, in John 7:38, Jesus goes even further, saying that out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water, and John specifically explains that He is talking of the Holy Spirit.  This too points back to the Prophets, particularly Isaiah 44:3, “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my bleesing on your descendants.”

What a marvelous blessing the Holy Spirit is, a river in our heart of living water, healing, flowing, constantly available, inexhaustible, powerful, the very Spirit of God present within us.  And this living water is not just for our cistern, but we are blessed to be a blessing, this is a fountain, a river, meant for God’s glory as we are able to pour God’s love and wisdom into the lives of others and testify of Him.

Today, meditate on this glorious gift, the river of living water, God the Holy Spirit Himself, flowing out of your heart, both to satisfy your thirst and that of many thirsty souls that God will bring your way.