Living water

If you have ever been to Oregon, I hope you visited Multnomah Falls along the Columbia River Gorge, between Corbett and Dodson, Oregon. It is 620 feet high and its longest drop of water is 542 feet. Water tumbles over it at a rate of 150 cubic feet per second! While I have seen this magnificent water falls, I can’t imagine that kind of flow volume, really!

But numeric descriptions don’t do the falls justice. You have to see it to be awed into silence at its beauty and its power.

Water is something we need daily. Sadly, it is also something we take for granted. God created us, so He knows that we need water. It is not a surprise to Him that we get thirsty. And, He takes care of our needs by providing us fresh water to drink and as well as water for bathing.

When the Israelites were in the wilderness, after being released by God from the bondage they suffered in Egypt, they grumbled against Moses and against God because there was no water. Indeed, they grumbled on numerous occasions! We read of such grumbling in Exodus 15, 16 and 17, in Numbers 15 and 16.

When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, she had come to draw water to drink but He told her about water that was everlasting:

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

John 4:10-15

Our Lord makes the same promise to us today. If we drink the water that He provides, we will not thirst. We will be satisfied. We will have water that wells up to eternal life.

In John’s Revelaton of Jesus Christ, we read what God says:

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

Revelation 21:5-6

What does this water look like?

Think of Multnomah Falls — there is no measly flow from that waterfall. It is vibrant. The flora surrounding it is lush with an abundance of water. The flow is crazy loud as it splashes to the earth below.

In the same way, the Christian’s supply of spiritual water is never ending. The actions of the Christian should affect all who are around him/her. We should make noise and let people know of the love of Christ in our hearts. The water of eternal life should be evident in what we do, what we say and how we conduct our lives. This is not a gift that we should hoard for ourselves; it is a gift from God that is for all who believe on His Son.

Praise God for this marvelous gift, and glorify His name in all that you do.

Father, we come to you and praise Your Holy Name for the sending of Your Son to be our atoning sacrifice. He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we could become His righteousness, something that we could never do on our own. We thank You and praise the name of Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord. Enable us to be lifegiving water to the people we come in contact with, through the power of Your Spirit we ask this.

VISIONS OF GLORY HERE ON EARTH

Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

Psalm 33:8 KJV

There are times in our lives that we encounter something that is just too wonderful to fully appreciate at the time.

Consider some of the places that God has provided us on the planet – places that exhibit His power, beauty, majesty, omnipotence, just to name a few of His attributes that are represented in His created order. 

Yosemite 2011 WRM 095 Overlook of Kings Canyon National Park (C)
Yosemite overlook at King’s Canyon

Towering mountains.    “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” – Psalm 90:2 ESV

Consider the thundering waterfalls.    “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.”  Psalm 42:7 ESV

Oregon 2009 066 (C) Multnomah Waterfalls
Multnomah Waterfalls, Oregon

Consider beauty and destruction combined, such as with volcanoes.  When we were on Maui, in Hawaii, we traveled to the crater of Haleakala and watched the sun come up over the horizon.  The crest of the volcano is over 10,000 feet high, so it was windy and the clouds were constantly changing as they flew over and passed the crater.  While volcanoes can be deadly and can cause widespread destruction, they also provide silent witness to the power of God’s creative hand and the beauty of His majesty.

Haleakala sunrise 4
Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii, Sunrise over the crater.

While God’s creation is majestic in scope, it is also awesome in its beautiful detail. 

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!” – Luke 12:27-28 ESV

flowers - lilies

Or, consider the birth of a child – we know the biological process that takes place.  Some of us even know all the details of human anatomy and physiology that work together in the creation of that little one you hold in your arms.  But, just describing the biological process of childbirth does not even touch the full impact of the birth of a little baby.  The joy that the child brings to the parents; the marvel in the expression of the young sibling who now is the older child; the tears in the grandparents’ eyes as they look at the personification of their living heritage. 

Grandparents holding baby
The infant is comforted by grandparents who just want to look adoringly at the child’s face!

I am not so Pollyanna to think that this is the lot granted to each child born on this planet – far from it.  Some children are born into a house that is far less than supportive and can even be abusive. But Scripture tells us that mankind was created in the image of God. 

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 ESV

Each person, even the smallest infant, is a creation of God the Almighty Creator and Sustainer who imprints His image onto the heart and soul of each one.  The reason we cannot see God’s image in others is not because of a problem with the image of God, but rather it is a problem that we have because of Adam’s fall and the interjection of sin into the world.

Scripture tells us of God’s majesty like this:

“By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.”

Psalm 65:5-8 ESV

What a marvelous God we serve.  What a powerful and majestic God we serve.  What a loving God we serve. 

“But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.”

Habakkuk 2:20 KJV

Today take the time to contemplate (or ruminate) on being silent before God.  Think about His majesty and glory.  Think about His intimate love for you and of the salvation that He has provided.  Read the love letter that He has given us, His Word, the Holy Bible.  Then, love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind.  Matthew 22:37. 

Father, I thank You for showing us Your power, beauty and majesty through the natural creation you spoke into existence.  I thank You for giving us Your Word and Your Spirit.  that tells us what you want us to do, how we should live in Christ, and what your Spirit

BRIDGES

A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle.  [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridge accessed September 19, 2015]

There are a multitude of examples of bridges that we can find or have occasion to cross.

Henley Street Bridge in Knoxville
Henley Street Bridge in Knoxville

 

In Knoxville we have the Henley Street Bridge, which is well over 100 years old, and is the site of fireworks during holiday celebrations.

The interstate takes its course over this incredible bridge as we traveled across the Mighty Mississippi River.

Bridge across the Mississippi River outside of Louisiana
Bridge across the Mississippi River outside of Louisiana

The bridge at Multnomah Waterfalls along the Columbia River Highway, Oregon enables people to get up close to the waterfalls without killing themselves on the slippery rocks or without being pummeled by the pressure of the water falling over the edge over 500 feet overhead. [See: http://www.waterfallsnorthwest.com/nws/falls.php?num=4051%5D

Multnomah Waterfall, Columbia River Highway, Oregon
Multnomah Waterfalls, Columbia River Highway, Oregon

Then we have a footbridge across the creek in the Great Smoky Mountains.   Not every bridge is a sterling example of engineering marvels.   Here, the bridge accomplishes its important purpose with dignity and a simplicity that is beautiful in its own right.

Wooden bridge across creek in the Smokey Mountains
Wooden bridge across creek in the Smoky Mountains

The bridge over the Mississippi River at Vicksburg is iconic as well as fundamentally important, being one of the links between the East and the West of our country.

Bridge over the Mississippi River at Vicksburg
Bridge over the Mississippi River at Vicksburg

While different in materials, design, location and terrain surrounding each bridge, the fundamental purpose is the same – to provide safe passage from one side to the other.  There is a chasm from which passage is either extremely difficult or impossible and the bridge enables us to move unhindered across that chasm, if we will but avail ourselves of its presence.

In 1956 I had occasion to visit the Royal Gorge in Colorado.  It was an event for which I have vivid recollection because of the impact it had on me – the depth of the gorge was mind boggling and its presence in the middle of, what seemed to me to be, nowhere made a lasting impression.  I could not fathom how anyone could cross this incredible tear in the fabric of the ground!

The Royal Gorge, Colorado, picture taken in 1956
The Royal Gorge, Colorado, picture taken in 1956

But someone did — many years before.   There was a bridge over the Royal Gorge to make travel across the gorge both possible and safe.  I admit to being panicked when my father drove across the bridge, but we were safe.

Bridge over the Royal Gorge, Colorado
Bridge over the Royal Gorge, Colorado

All of us are subject to a chasm that renders the Royal Gorge insignificant … the chasm between righteousness and sin. Romans 3:23 says, simply and concisely, that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

We may think that we have done such good things that God will surely let us enter His Heaven, but if we have not repented of our sin and confessed Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we may be like the Pharisees in Luke 16 where Jesus said:

“You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”  Luke 16:15

Indeed, Jesus said: “No one is good except God alone.” Mark 10:18.

In short, we need to bridge the gap between us and our unrighteousness (also known as sin) and the Holy God, Who cannot look upon sin.  Isaiah learned this as a result of the vision he had in the year that King Uzziah died.  Isaiah 6:1-8. Isaiah saw the Lord on His throne, high and lifted up.  And the seraphim that stood by the throne called and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Isaiah’s response was not to say something like “Hey there – here I am and you should be glad that I have come, after all, I am your prophet and have a lot of clout on earth!  Look at all the times I did what you wanted and what I have accomplished for you!”

Quite the contrary – Isaiah said:

“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

After this, the seraphim took a coal from the altar and touched his lips saying:

“Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

Only after this did God speak and Isaiah responded.  God cannot look upon sin!

Isaiah’s response when he was confronted with the holiness of God was “Woe is me!” Isaiah became aware that sin is not fixed simply by “washing up and looking good” – it is a fundamental condition that we are powerless to cure.  It took action by God to cleanse Isaiah so he could minister as God wanted.

Like Isaiah, we can do nothing to fix our own condition. But, One has come and has bridged the gap for us – He became the way we can come before the Holy God and call Him “Abba, Father!”

In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul writes:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, bring born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The sinless One became sin for us so that we, who have no righteousness in our own selves, could be covered in His righteousness.  His sacrifice made our acceptance before the Holy God possible – we stand in His righteousness claiming Jesus as our Savior and, miracle of miracles, God the Father accepts us as His children.  Not because of anything good we have done – all because of the acts of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Father, I thank you and praise Your Holy Name for sending Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb Who secured salvation for those who call upon His Name, repent of their sin, and confess Him as Lord and Savior of their lives.  Thank you for providing a way for us to breach the chasm that sin created, and I praise Your Name for adoption into the family of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In Whose Name I pray, Amen.