I know that in the midst of snow and cold temperatures, it may seem kind of odd to focus on what would turn out to be the hottest day of the year. The farmers had not seen rain in almost a month, the crops were dying, and the cows had stopped giving milk. Everyday the men struggled to get what little water they had into the fields. And then it happened!
The farmer’s wife was standing at the kitchen window when she spotted her 6 year old Billy, slowly making his way to the edge of the woods, and then run back to the house. Several times she saw this odd behavior play out, so she decided to investigate. Following him back to the woods, she noticed that he had his hands very carefully cupped, intensely focused on not spilling a drop of the precious water. Thorns and branches slapped his face, but he didn’t even try to avoid them—on he went to his intended destination!
To his mother’s amazement, deer were standing around the clearing—including a huge buck—as the little boy knelt down so a tiny fawn could lap up the water. It was severely dehydrated and suffering from heat exhaustion. As the boy turned to go back to the house for more, his Mom hid behind a tree to let him fulfill his mission—his way! Back at the house, he turned on the outdoor spigot all the way, but only an occasional drop would land in his tightly clasped hands—it took 20 minutes. Just then, the boy turned towards the woods—and there was his Mom. The week before, he had been lectured on not wasting water, so now, with eyes filled with tears, he said, “I’m not wasting it, Mom!” As he made his slow and tedious way back to the fawn, his mother ran into the house for a full pitcher—and followed him. Her heart almost burst with joy as she watched the most beautiful heart she had ever seen work so hard to save a life. Tears rolled down her cheeks to the ground, when suddenly, they were joined with tears from heaven—yes, it started to rain! It was as if God was weeping for joy, too. She knew others would explain it all away—just a coincidence—but not her. It was a miracle—the rain that came that day saved their farm, and the actions of one little boy saved a fawn.
With Valentine’s Day coming up this month, it is going to take a true heart—even a mother’s heart—to see the beauty in a heart that will sacrifice everything to save the life of another. The Seasons of Lent and Easter are also coming up, and then we will see that Jesus was willing to do that very thing—sacrifice everything to save the life of another. For right now, I would like us to see how the Holy Spirit is absolutely bent on accomplishing the same thing. Believe it or not, we can see this in the simple analogy of water. Herbert Lockyer once wrote, “Water is one of the most common of symbols used to describe, not only the varied ministry of the Holy Spirit, but also the Holy Scriptures. We could not live without water or rain. We need water to allay thirst, to give beauty to the flowers, and fertility to crops and harvests.”
Yes, water! Without water, we die! I suppose it all began very early on—Genesis 1:1-2 tells us, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Praise God—all of life and creation can be eternally meaningful and purposeful, if it will allow itself to come into His order. As the people of God embarked upon the wilderness, Moses was told by God, “…thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people might drink.” (Exodus 17:6) At the Cross, the Rock of Ages was smitten, and water, as well as blood, flowed from His eternal heart. Paul would later verify this incredible fact, referring to the people of God in the wilderness, “…for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Cor.10:4) When Jesus met with the woman at the well, He told her, “…whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst…” (John 4:14a) He was seeking to show her—and us—that the Holy Spirit, as an indwelling Well of Water, was the only source of spiritual life and refreshment. He alone will satisfy our soul’s deepest thirst—the waters of this life have failed in that, trying to fool us with substitutions, for only He can bring true cleansing, life, fruitfulness, beauty, and joy.
This life-giving water is manifested in Scripture in several different forms. First, consider rivers. In John 7, we read what happened at the end of the Feast of the Tabernacles—”In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (vss.37-38) Not stagnant, but moving water—fresh and clean. Did you know that it is reported that the Amazon River in South America has such a huge flow out into the Atlantic Ocean, that 100 miles out to sea, you can dip into it and still find fresh water? Whoa! And notice, this “living water” is plural—”rivers.” Remember—In Genesis 2, when God put his brand new civilization in the cradle, so to speak, it was encompassed by four rivers, not just one or even two. This massive size and plurality indicate the variety, abundance, and many facets of the Holy Spirit’s activities. What diversity in His dealings with us—chastising and rebuking are reserved for those He loves and disciplines. Such is true love, my friends!
A flood is another way for water to manifest itself. In Noah’s day, the deluge was straight from God’s heart—judging the sin of the world, and at the same time, giving it a second chance. A deluge of the Spirit is just as able to flood the earth with blessing. Isaiah 44:3 tells us, “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour out my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.” We must be truly baptized—immersed—in Holy Spirit and His fire. The trouble with far too many of us is that we often only want to drink just enough to keep us alive; not enough to truly thrive! Yet another mode for water is rain. The Psalmist tells us, “He shall come down like rain…” (Ps. 72:6) Joel, in his call to the people to repent, writes, “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” (2:23) Praise God—it is the “latter rain,” at the end of the growing season, that brings the harvest all the way to fruition!
The absence of rain undoubtedly means famine, scarcity, and ruin, as many people around the world have found out. The Church is certainly suffering from spiritual famine, and is in sad need of hearing the sound of the abundance of rain. This famine, however, is of many people’s own choosing—instead of a true Word, many flock around entertainment and prosperity. It is not a famine of the Word itself; no, it is a “…famine…of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11) You see, its a control issue, isn’t it? People didn’t want it, so God sends a famine. And don’t forget natural springs—they are still another way in which we experience water! When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, He also told her, “…the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14b) Springs are not only reservoirs of pure, fresh water, but the source of great rivers. The Psalmist said, “…all my springs are in thee.” (87:7), and this is true of the Spirit, who is our secret source of every precious thing. In Him is a perennial source of supply—a Spring that never ceases to flow. All we have to do is recognize our need for such provision, and surrender to His ways of giving it. But once again—the issue is control, isn’t it? If only we truly knew the blessings of such denial of self. If only…
The last form of water that I want to look at is dew. Even the word itself sounds insignificant, doesn’t it? Early in the evening, its not there; a little later, it is. What’s with that? Just as God had said He would be His people’s rain, Hosea reveals that He, “…will be as the dew,” (14:5) gently and softly moistening the ground and the roots they hold. As Moses concluded his ministry, he told the people, “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.” (Deut. 32:2,3) Yes, let’s publish the name of the Lord, as every drop falls into the cupped hand and onto the parched land. Praise God—as the farm and the fawn have indeed ascribed greatness unto Him, may we, too, know in our hearts that without the water of the Holy Spirit, we die! His true love, through the Spirit, waters everything and up comes life eternal!