Jesus said in John 10:10 that the ‘enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy but that he has come that we might have life; and life more abundantly’, yet so often Christians claim that this is not their experience… why?
LIVING WATER FLOWS FROM WITHIN
Jesus promised a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in John 4, the same thing he promises us that if we come to him and drink the water he offers that not only will we never thirst again but more than that, within us will arise a fountain of living water welling up to eternal life. Wow! I mean, that sounds crazy right!? To think that Jesus can offer us something that not only satisfies the deep thirst of our soul but something that will perpetually satisfy us because it’s not just a drink poured into us but a fountain pouring out of us! Living Water flowing from within!
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. – John 4:13-14
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit,whom those who believed in him were later to receive. – John 7:38-39
DRINKS THAT LEAVE US THIRSTY
Jesus said to this woman at the well that if she continued to drink the natural water from the well, all that would happen is that eventually she would thirst again. Makes sense. Drink. Get thirsty. Drink again. The cycle repeats itself. But it’s not really about water is it? Jesus is talking about the things of life that we consume in order to feel satisfied, the relationships we have, the sex, the drugs, the success, the likes on Facebook, fame on Instagram, productivity at work, those magazines you read, that website you go to, accolades, popularity, friends, alcohol, sport, tv, books, movies, Netflix, Tinder… again, and again, and again, and again…. satisfying your needs and desires with a quick fix that lasts for but a moment, only to leave you thirsty, unfulfilled, wanting more. Needing more. Jesus knows how unsatisfying the water of the world is, and so he offers us a divine alternative; Himself.
THE GAP BETWEEN THE PROMISE & THE EXPERIENCE
So why is that so many feel there is this gap between what Jesus has promised and what we live in and experience each day? Why the apparent disconnect? It’s like getting the spinning wheel on your macbook pro, all this supposed power and extra RAM but still that colourful beachball pops up and spins while you sit there waiting for the software to kick in. Some of us feel like that, we know the power is there, we trust Jesus, we believe him, but why this spinning wheel of frustration and let down, why is it that we don’t “feel” like life is abundant? What happened to the flow of living water?
YOU GOTTA FEED THE FLOW
Rivers flow because the rain feeds more water into the river to maintain momentum. Large rivers flow because smaller rivers, or streams, run into them. In order for the living water to flow in your life you need to learn how to feed the flow. You need to understand how to get more ‘rain’ in your river and how to partner with other streams to flow together with greater momentum. (You can read more about that in my latest book, Stream Leaders) What you need to understand is how Jesus himself demonstrates the primary way this works.
Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. – John 4:31-35
EAT WHAT JESUS ATE
Jesus at this point, if you read the whole story, was tired, weary, sitting down from exhaustion, thirsty and hungry. His disciples offer him some food but he refuses it because he’s already full! Of what? Not of physical food but of doing the will of the Father who sent him.
JESUS NATURAL THIRST AND HUNGER SUBSIDED BECAUSE HE FILLED HIMSELF WITH SOMETHING FAR MORE SATISFYING THAT FED THE FLOW INSIDE OF HIM
Too often Christians want the abundance Jesus promised without participating in the work Jesus requires. We want Jesus to be our Savior but we don’t want him to be our Lord. We think that by holding onto our lives we’ll save them but Jesus tells us that that is exactly how we’ll lose them! ‘For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it (Mark 8:35). We think that abundance means getting more things and having more stuff; more likes and less dislikes, more friends and less enemies, more comfort and less pain, more joy and less grief, more toys and less problems, but it’s simply not true.
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. – Luke 12:15
Abundance, that food that truly feeds your soul and leaves you full and not hungry, that leaves you satisfied and not thirsty, is to do the will of the Father who sent you. Doing the work and will of God is the way to add rain to your river. It’s how you eat the food that Jesus ate. It’s how you discover the power and truth that it’s a greater blessing to give than to receive. It’s the upside down, back to front way of the Kingdom of Heaven where the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Want to be full? Want to be satisfied, want to discover meaning and purpose? Start to discover the mission and work of the Father and as you partner with the Holy Spirit, sharing you faith, telling people about Jesus, proclaiming the gospel, praying for the sick, partnering with your local church – you will begin to feel the flow increase, you will begin to see the tide rise and instead of a narrow trickle of life you will uncover a powerful river of living water flowing out of your soul, impacting and influencing all the people around you. And as you do that, the experience of abundance, joy and peace your soul craves will be yours in Jesus Name. I know, I know…. sounds off right? Still not sure… read on:
THE YOKE OF ABUNDANCE
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
Here is the promise form Jesus, his commitment to you his disciple, come and receive rest. Come and receive joy and peace. Come and receive grace, life that is truly life. But notice that in the very same breath he also says come and receive a yoke and a burden. Go on, read it again, I’ll wait…
The only reason you put a yoke on an animal is because you’re about to put it to work in your field. The only reason Jesus wants to put a yoke on you is because he has a field for you to work in. And here’s the thing, if we resist the work we resist the peace and rest that comes with it. If we resist the mission we resist the meal. If we resist the burden we resist the blessing. If we resist his commandment we resist his commitment. This goes against your rational nature, ‘surely rest means not working and relaxing right?’ Maybe in a worldly economy, but heavens economy is different. Remember, the rest that the world gives leaves you restless, the water that the world offers leaves you thirsty. But the water from Christ will never leave you thirsty!
HIS FOOD & YOUR HARVEST
No sooner has Jesus stopped talking about his food being to do the will of the Father does he point the disciples attention to the harvest field. Why? Because he does not want them to assume that the food he is eating is not for them too. More than that, it’s ready now, do not say four more months and then the harvest. The harvest is ready! Your option to get involved in the work and mission of God is available today! Not in four more months, not after school, not once the kids leave home, not once you know the bible better or have your life in order – today! The harvest is ready, don’t hold back, Jesus has committed to giving you abundance and he’s now told you that the field you can reap it from is ready to go! Go get some! Discover the abundance of God for your life by submitting to his purpose and mission for your life; to be his witness and to carry the Gospel.
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