There’s a sweet little stream that meanders through our son’s back yard in England. However, with two little boys living there, we call it “The Moat”. Every five-year-old warrior needs a moat to play in, especially if he doesn’t have a real dragon. Surely there are no bad guys able to breach this natural barrier!
As I visited in the UK, I enjoyed sitting in the sunshine on their patio and listening to the water flowing over the stones. Although one day I wasn’t quite so happy with “The Moat”. I was working on a project for Nikki, and a quick gust of wind blew a full box of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (which we couldn’t find in any grocery store in the area) right off the table and into the water!
The erasers were gone in a wink to who knows where; although Matty was sure he saw it in the port at Liverpool a couple days later. (Note to self: Add Magic Erasers to the “send to the kids” list).
It rained heavily one day and this lazy little stream became a raging current…
Fortunately it didn’t overflow its banks, and as much as he wanted to run outside and check things out, our little warrior had to stay inside where he was safe and dry.
I’ve always enjoyed being near the water, whether it is experiencing the crash of the surf next to the ocean, the gentle lapping of waves of a lake, or the trickle of this stream — I find the sound of water both soothing and exhilarating. It is fascinating to me to ponder where the water in this stream came from and where it is going and also that I am never seeing the same water; every moment the water is fresh and new.
It’s interesting that Jesus uses flowing water as an analogy to help us understand how he works through our lives to bless others and accomplish his plans.
Once we accept the substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross in our place and on our behalf, we are regenerated; we are born again and the Holy Spirit lives within us. Then, as we focus on God, learning his character and his attributes, and as we live our lives applying what we have learned (trusting in him) out of us will flow rivers of living water — as Oswald Chambers says, “The river of the Spirit of God.”
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. 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 4:10,14 NIV
The thing about rivers, or streams, is that they are constantly flowing, they flow around obstacles, they widen out becoming barely a trickle, or they may spill over their banks. Even when they are dammed up, rivers just get deeper and deeper until they flow again over the top of the dam. You can’t stop them.
So should it be with us, there should always be evidence of Jesus living in us. Our lives should always be a source of blessing to others as the river of the Spirit of God flows through us.
Like the stone walls of this little stream, we are not the source of the water, nor do we know to where the water is flowing, our responsibility is to be the channel through which the water flows. Our job is not to tell the water what to do, where to go, or what it should accomplish. Our responsibility is to keep the path clear so that the water can flow more readily. We do this by maintaining a clear conscience before God, confessing and repenting of sin, and choosing to live in obedience.
In my son’s backyard, someone built the beautiful walls along this stream. The circumstances of our lives are the walls that direct the path of the living water that flows through our lives. The beauty of our circumstances is that God has allowed, and is allowing, every stone that is there. There is no circumstance that God has not personally put in place in your life for his good purpose.
No matter what our circumstances may be, we must never let self-pity, doubt, fear, worry, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, envy, discontent, or longing for change to inhibit the flow of the water through us. We must keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus who is the source of the water.
“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37b-38 NIV
No matter what role we have as we serve for the cause of Christ, it is the living water flowing through us that blesses the lives of others and accomplishes the purposes of God.
How readily does the living water flow through you? Are there obstructions: boulders created by issues only you are aware of? Are there piles of debris from unconfessed sin? Or do you regularly feed the flow by pouring in and applying God’s Truths and promises?