River of Living Waters
Recently while reading from one of my favorite daily devotionals, the passage “The River of Living Waters, touched me and I wanted to read more, understand this meaning and share this message in my reflection.
In the Bible verse, John 7:38 (NIV) it states, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he means the “Spirit” whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time, the Spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified. What an amazing message. For me, I do feel his presence which I believe is the result of my grandmother Frances and my mother who began to share Jesus with me when I was a very small child. I remember I loved going to my grandmothers’ home and seeing all the statues of Jesus around her home. And, when she prayed with me she would say, ‘always keep Jesus in your heart sweetie, as he will always be with you’.
My grandmother and my mother were great influences in my religious life. Jesus used “living waters in John 4:10 to indicate eternal life. In the Old Testament many verses speak of thirsting after God as one who thirsts for water. In Psalm 42.1 (NIV), it reads, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God when can I go and meet God?” That is our purpose, waiting to meet our Father, our God in heaven. If we seek him and long to understand him, we will find everlasting life.
Oswald Chambers, author of MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST, references John 15:11, which states, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” Joy comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ. In the Application Bible, this verse is explained as, ‘when our lives are intertwined with his, he will help us walk through adversity.’ How often do we turn to Jesus with prayers of need? Are we in sync with Jesus? Are we living our lives by our faith in Him that we may feel Jesus will hear our petitions? These are questions I ask of myself. Often times, I feel life’s distractions take our focus away from Jesus, even for a very brief time. We worry too much and sometimes our focus just relaxes so to speak. Oswald Chambers wrote in relation to this Bible verse, “Be rightly related to God, find your joy there and out of you will flow rivers of living water. Be a center for Jesus Christ to pour living water through. Stop being self-conscious…and live the life hid with Christ.” I know I want to believe and follow Him! The joy of living daily with Jesus Christ will keep us grounded no matter what trials we may be going through.
I attended Catholic grade school, high school and an all-girl Catholic college. My family believed they were giving me the best education they could and I am very grateful. I know I followed all the traditions we were taught. When I was a junior in high school my parents were upset that I had received a “C” in religion class. So, at the Parent-Teacher Conference, my mother asked Sister Aloque, why my grade was so low? She told my mother, because I would not argue with her. My mother responded by saying that she had taught me never to disrespect the clergy. Sister went on to explain to my mother, she was not being disrespectful, but she wanted to teach me how to defend what I believed in; she said I know she has strong faith, but I want her to defend it to others, if necessary. My mother felt embarrassed and told her she now understood. I am not convinced I have always done what sister was expecting, but I do know I have stuck up for my beliefs a time or two. This does not mean I am better than anyone else, but I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe, which I feel is what this message “river of living waters” is asking us to do.
I recently joined my two neighbors and a two other women for a monthly devotional group which I truly enjoy. My one neighbor asked me, “When did I accept Jesus into my life?” This is a question that has always confused me. I have heard it asked of others, and I thought well, that’s easy.
Growing up Catholic, I did not recall we ever thought of such a question. I mean, I do not remember ever not believing in Jesus. So, I asked Pastor Mark and told him of her question. He replied with, well, do you ever remember a time that was exceptionally special – a time when you related or turned to Jesus? Well yes, I replied. I do remember when I was in high school and as a freshman we attended a Student Prayer Retreat. I was called to be an assistant monitoring all the students going into the chapel. When I took my turn, I was the only student in the chapel. It was so quiet, still, and I was drawn to a statue and the face of Jesus. I guess for me, as a young girl, maybe it was the first time of accepting Jesus, but no that cannot be, right, as I knew I believed in Jesus – I believed what I had been taught. Do you think maybe we tend to go through prayer and faith at times, by just going through the motions not even realizing how or what we are praying?
In looking back now and after Pastor Mark made the suggested question, perhaps for the first time in the solitude of the small chapel, I was finding Jesus. As a Catholic we followed traditions such as the Sign of the Cross, genuflecting when entering the house of the Lord, or bowing our head when hearing the name of Jesus. Whether you are a practicing Catholic or a Christian with deep faith, these actions show your reverence to Him. In Colossians 3:17, (NIV) “Whatever you say or do, let it be in the name of the Lord Jesus, in thanksgiving to God the Father through Him” was recited in the book, The Sign of the Cross, by Bert Gheez.
In the book, ABOVE ALL by Brennan Manning, he recites, “The Dove Award-winning song, Above All is the depiction of the central mystery of Christian faith. In this song, the union of the human and divine natures in the person of Jesus Christ is presented with stunning simplicity!” This relates totally to ‘Rivers of Living Waters”.
Chambers also says, “A river touches places of which its source knows nothing and Jesus says if we have received of His fullness, however small, the visible measures of our lives, out of us will flow the rivers that will bless us to the uttermost parts of the earth.”…He will flow through us. If you believe in Jesus, you will receive.”
This is my wish, to be a River flowing with Jesus’ Living Waters. How about you?