If you are like me, you probably get a lot of unsolicited phone calls concerning your water. People want to test my water, filter and purify it, and run it through a reverse osmosis process. They want to sell me bottled water, or sell me some system to process the water. The system might be as small as a filter/pitcher that fits in the refrigerator, or as large as a series of tanks that sit in the garage and filter the water for the whole house. They seem very concerned about my health, hydration and possible contamination.
On my first trip to Africa, a small team of five from our Church visited churches in the Mt. Kenya region of central Kenya. We traveled through a number of towns and villages, holding meetings to encourage and strengthen local pastors and leaders. We made many friends, and saw all the remarkable sights of Kenya, including the unique animals. One thing I saw made a lasting and life changing impact on me. It concerned water.
In one small town, on a lunch break between the morning and afternoon leadership training sessions, we were invited to a church leader’s home for the noon meal. Our team was fed a delicious and abundant meal, as the Kenyans are wonderful hosts and a very giving and gracious people. Following the meal, I stepped outside in anticipation of boarding the van and returning to the local church for the afternoon session. The village where the home was located was tiny, with dirt streets and only a few buildings. What I saw as I waited to board the van I shall never forget.
Coming down the street was an elderly man, slowly driving a wooden cart pulled by a small donkey. The wheels and axle for the cart came from a wrecked vehicle, and the wooden bed was handmade. In the bed of the cart were a number of 50 gallon drums of water. The man pulled the cart up to a small concrete tank beside the road, and began to empty the barrels of water into the tank. “He’s bringing water to the village”, I thought to myself. Throughout Kenya, clean drinking water is rarely available. Everywhere we went, we were offered bottled water, the Kenyans drank bottled water, and bottled water was readily available. The locals knew to boil this water if it was used for drinking or cooking, although it could have been more for cleaning purposes. In any event, if the man did not bring the water, there was no other general water supply for the village.
Later, after returning to the United States, I was studying scriptures, and began to compare Ezekiel’s Old Testament vision of God’s river of living water (Ezekiel 47) with John’s New Testament vision of the same in Revelation 22. The two accounts are remarkably similar. God’s living water flows from His throne, out of the temple, and through the streets of the city of God. The water possesses tremendous properties. Everywhere the water flows there is abundant life, and fruit trees that produce year round grow along the banks of the river (of life). The leaves of the trees are for healing. With the similarities, one can easily conclude that Ezekiel and John saw the same thing in their separate visions. The water is real, in a supernatural sense.
Where does that water flow? Psalm 1:3 says “He [the man guided by the word of God] is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” [Emphasis mine.] Jesus says in John 4:13-14 “the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” If I am led by the word of God, the living water is available to draw upon, like the root of a tree growing along a river bank draws water, and should be flowing out of the believer like a spring of fresh water. Just as I am pondering that very conclusion, the picture of that old man and his cart came to mind, and I heard the Lord say “You carry the water to your village.”
It was both a confirmation and a challenge. It was a confirmation that indeed I can and do carry the living water. It was a challenge that I have the responsibility to spread the water’s tremendous properties through my village.
If as a born again believer in Jesus Christ I carry the living water he gives me, everywhere I go (flow) I should be spreading life, not death. With my words, prayers and actions, I should promote hope, courage and victory. By speaking His word into a situation, I should bring help instead of despair, assurance instead of fear, joy instead of gloom, wisdom instead of folly, and victory instead of defeat. My words should speak cool and refreshing into any situation that is hot and dry-about to explode. I need to be water on a brush fire-not gasoline. My words should be uplifting, not condemning. I am a thermostat, not a thermometer. I can change the climate/situation, not merely report on the conditions. My fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control–Galatians 5:22) should always and in every season be apparent to everyone around me. Finally, my words and prayers should promote healing-emotional, spiritual and physical. The source of my words of life goes all the way back to the throne of God.
My village is my sphere of influence. It is my marriage, my family, my church, my community, and my work place. I am to carry words, deeds and prayers that inject life into these places. I realize that the laws of this land and corporate policies are such that preaching the word of God in the workplace is prohibited, and may cost one his employment. But from my own experience I can say that fellow workers will watch how one conducts himself under pressure and stress. If one’s words still bring hope and encouragement under adverse conditions, and one’s positive leadership and actions bring success when failure was imminent, one’s fellow workers will ask the secret, and open the door to a conversation they initiated. This will lead to a situation where it is possible to spread around the living water of God.
The final picture the Lord gave me to complete the challenge took me back to my high school days. He reminded me of the sprinkler that was used to water the football practice field. This was a rotary type sprinkler, except it was about waist high, mounted on wheels, and was fed by a two inch hose. It was a mounted cannon, capable of spraying water sideline to sideline on the field, and only had to be moved a few times to water the length of the field. This sprinkler was powerful, and put out a lot of water. This is how the Lord wants His living water to flow from me. He is not interested in me sprinkling a bit of water here and there and pronouncing that things will be alright. He is challenging all believers to liberally and powerfully draw on and apply the living water that flows from them so that things will live, be refreshed, be cleansed, and be healed. He wants to see abundant fruit year round from the water source we are tapped into.
It is well understood that in the natural world, clean water is essential for life. Contaminated water can cause sickness and death, but living things can grow and thrive near a source of clean water. It is no different in the spiritual or supernatural realm. This supernatural living water of God is available to promote an abundant life. It will counter every tool of the devil intended to bring death and destruction. With this water, we can thrive and flourish. But God has chosen us to be the delivery system- we are to carry it to our villages.
You may remember the words of this old song:
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me.
It makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see,
Opens prison doors, sets the captive free.
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me.