“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
When the spirit of God is poured into the souls of men, we become like rivers of living water. The spirit was never meant to lay idle, but to flow, and not just to us but through us. I wonder why it is that in our observations we don’t see this happening as it was intended. Then, through observations made in the world around me I begin to understand.
Humanity has a habit of disrupting the natural order. We love to tame the wild, to make the wild things submit in obedience to our will, that it may work for us. Perhaps we need a plow to be pulled, train a mule and make him pull. Perhaps we need a way to go, train a horse and ride upon his back. Or maybe we need power, recreation, and water to quench our thirst. Build a Dam across the river and stop the flow. This is the logical thing to do is it not? I cannot help but wonder if even in this we have stored up for ourselves provision and instead of filling our silos – we have filled our reservoirs.
“Dam that river,” says I, “bring it to its knees and make it work, fill the reservoir, and let the water turn the turbines”. We make wonderful use of God’s creation, always to our own benefit, and always in a way that serves to make this life more bearable…easier…simpler. Always in a way that reduces our dependence on God. It is interesting that in the study of language the word “Dam” is closely connected to the Greek word “Thaphos.” What does Thaphos mean? It means grave or tomb. I thought this quite interesting considering the words of Christ with regard to the Holy Spirit and the rivers of living water…water that flows.
When the Holy Spirit fell at Pentecost and the tongues of fire descended upon those simple men…it flowed. In fact it gushed, uncontrollably through each of these men, and that day thousands were saved. Not given over to death, but given life instead…life that came by way of living water. So what is the problem today? Why has the river been dammed? To be honest I don’t know why, except to say that maybe we fear what we cannot control, but which chooses instead to control us. I do know what the dam is made of, and it has many parts: Fear…sin…indifference…
Each and every believer knows what if feels like to have that spirit swell within their souls. There are times we want to stand and shout…but we don’t, there are times when we so desperately want to share what God has done in our lives…but we don’t, times when we feel compelled to show compassion and to demonstrate mercy…but we don’t, and certainly there are times when we are drawn to another knowing full well that God has appointed us this day to share the good news with our neighbor…but we don’t.
Instead our efforts are aimed at taming this thing that seeks to control us. In the process people die and the dams we often build serve as a grave to those we never reached with living water.