2 million folks in greater Boston were without potable running water. I wasn't one of them. Where I work, however; was. When I arrived on Monday morning, I never gave a second thought to what I would drink during my nearly 11 hours away from cool filtered water dispensed from my refrigerator.
As I sat down to my computer and opened my email, there was a message from the owner of the company saying that we could not use the coffee pot, ice, or the water bubbler. I was thirsty just thinking about it. We were urged to wash our hands and then use sanitizer (sounds stupid right?).
I thought for a moment about those that were trapped in the Haitian earthquake for days without food or water - certainly I could make it without water for 11 hours.
Then I thought about being trapped for days without the bathroom under some rubble - *snap* time to get to work. There was a gnawing feeling of thirst, even as I worked and talked on the phone. I pounded away at the keyboard but at about 11 am, even a yogurt wouldn't take away the thirst. I finally went and got a can of Coke. I made it until three o'clock when I got another one.
I heard on the radio there was a fist fight over bottled water at a Wal-Mart nearby. I am not sure what I would do for water - how desperate I would be?
As a spirit-filled Christian, I have an endless supply of living water. I think back to the times before I met Jesus, how thirsty I was for something - I didn't even know what. I thought I needed more money, a better girlfriend, my parents to get off my back, a better education, a faster car, more booze, more drugs, better friends - fresh start - I just couldn't fill the emptiness that eventually came. I pondered death, old age, and life in general along with my regular worries as I lay there awake some nights.
And then I met Jesus. It was such an amazing experience that I was totally and completely disarmed by His love. All my arguments, my intellectual “tower of education,” science and logic was torn down in an instant - the instant I first believed. Everything was shaken, and in my heart the river of living water began to flow. There was no sermon, no debate, no sinner’s prayer, and nothing intellectual. As a matter of fact, only a few minutes before I heard three guys talking about God, and it sounded so real I just had to “know” more. Within minutes the Spirit of God filled my heart and it has never been the same since.
It didn't matter that I had heard the best and most “scientific” arguments through my mother's affiliation with Yale, and the world of academia. It didn't matter that I had studied science, and masterfully architected my own system of beliefs based on my impeccable logic - well, up until the death part. I studied the Greeks, the Romans, the Middle Ages church, the Druids, the European Mystics, African Witchcraft, and even some of the Scriptures. I went to churches, synagogues and read about Eastern religion – after all I grew up in the late 60’s. In the 80’s I got in with a cult for a few months (something didn’t seem right)… wow, there are a lot philosophies out there! How could anyone decide?
Being born again is less about thinking, and more about listening to God. It was not the style of this near genius, no, the spirit realm didn't make any logical sense - as a matter of fact - it was a little spooky some days. Every time I thought about what happened that day, I tried to tell my self that it was just an emotionally weak moment when a couple of folks told me that they loved me and so did God. The problem for me was this: whenever I indulged in the moment, I was overcome by an overflowing in my spirit - again. It was a sense without words, yet very real.
Even in my worst times, the Spirit of God was there, the comfort was there, the power was there.
I confess that it took a long time to stop doing stuff that was bad for my spiritual life. In the beginning I smoked and drank. I didn't connect salvation with the fruit of purity in the Bible - it wasn't like everyone around me was being perfect. (The original Adam excuse) Occasionally some well meaning Christian would take me aside and talk to me about my sin. Most times they were nice about it.
As I look back there are a few things that I wish I had done early on to keep the river flowing.
-1 Had better fellowship.
-2 Had valued relationships with other Christians.
-3 Had a mentor or at least someone that took me on for discipleship - still haven't figured that one out.
I know for some, the reality of living water may not make sense, but unless one has experienced it, it is impossible to describe. And as far as I can tell, there is only one way to experience it.
John 7:38 (NIV) Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.
Today I am slowly working towards planting some churches in my area - ones that make the living water flow. We are using the 5-Fold model outlined in Ephesians 4. We value every gifted person, and want to see them released into their destiny. Our hope is that we (the Kingdom) will have disciples that have a double portion of what we have received. The best part – I don’t have to be the pastor!
The living water – it seems to flow much more rapidly when working with others, and not worrying about everything else in life.
How about you, are you thirsty?