My most memorable visit to a foreign country was when Shirley and I went to the Holy Land, Israel. Today, when I read about certain places in the Bible, I have a clear mental picture of what I saw; places such as Jerusalem, Galilee and the Mount of Olives.
One place, that is a reminder to me of what can happen in my spiritual life, is the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is a salt lake between Israel and Jordan. It is 420 metres (1,378 ft) below sea level. Its shores are the lowest point, on dry land, on the surface of the earth. It is 8.6 times more salty than the ocean. It amazes me how I could float on the water, almost on top it. This salinity makes for a harsh environment, however, where fish cannot survive and boats cannot sail. The lake, with its unusual properties, has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. Biblically, Moses and Joshua called it “the Sea of the Arabah, the “Salt Sea”, and it is spoken about in the prophecies of Ezekiel, Joel and Zechariah.
What is it that makes the Dead Sea like it is? It has no outlet, and no water flows through it and out the other side. By contrast, the Sea of Galilee is a lake of sparkling water full of fish. Our lives can either be like the Dead Sea or like the Sea of Galilee. In John 7:37b-39 we read that Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture says, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Now this He said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus had not yet glorified.” These words were meant figuratively. They have a double application. They teach us that all who come to Christ by faith shall find abundant satisfaction in Him. They also teach that all believers should become fountains of blessing to others.
Everything starts with a thirst for Jesus and a “drinking” in of his promises by faith. We can then sense that we have discovered the source of lasting and complete joy, and our hearts crave to know more and more of Christ.
“When a drop of His water falls on the parched land of our soul it doesn’t make a puddle, it makes a spring. And from the spring there flows a river. And when that river of blessing touches the heart of another person, then, and not until then, do we experience the climax of joy. Not until then is our deepest thirst quenched. So the sequence is: drink in Christ by faith, pour Christ out in praise and love, and never thirst again,” writes John Piper.
My deepest soul-thirst is not just to be a receptacle, but to be a river. What happens when we allow the life of Christ to flow through us? His life flow out of us in worship of God and love to all people. God has gifted all His children for the purpose of serving Him. Then by serving others, our lives will to be like rivers.
This Sunday we will consider the subject of spiritual gifts, “Discovering your spiritual gift/s” from Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12.
Bruce Davie, Pastor/Elder