Rivers of waters … we have seen it this week, whether in person or on the media outlets
John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him (NIV84)
How do we survive the waters? How do we survive the toxic floods, the rivers and storms of life? It is not from being prepared, physically or even emotionally. It is not by building a wall around yourself. The way we survive is about what is within. In this life, how do we survive? Oh, we talk a lot about eating right, exercise, to elongate life and improve the quality of life. But ultimately, even the perfect specimens of health too will one day die. It has been appointed man once to die, and then the judgment. And that judgment will not rate the quality of our physical body. Their will be no after death assessment of body fat mass index or whatever. So, if we all are going to die, can I survive death? How do I survive death, because we ARE going to live on in eternity. So, how do we survive in life and in death?
Standing at the graveside of his friend, Lazarus, Jesus said, (John 11:25) “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies 26 whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believes this?”
Did you see the lynch pin? Did you see the key to unlock the door of life? If we are all appointed to die, and then the judgment, upon what is the judgment based? Jesus said, “He (she) who believes in me will live” Believes = pisteuo – to believe in, to have confidence in, to have faith in, to trust. Notice that it isn’t simply “be a person of faith”. No, my faith must be IN something that can do what I desire. I can believe that I can fly … but that won’t go very well. Or I can get IN a plane and actually fly. Jesus says “he who believes IN me will LIVE” = zao – to come back to life, to live again, to be resurrected. Praise the Lord … though we are dead, we can be resurrected. WHEN we die, we WILL be still living, if have have faith IN the only one who can guarantee us life … Jesus the Christ.
“But Pastor” Oh, I hear you out there, “But Pastor, sometimes I don’t get the pleasure, the relief of death to give me a passageway to real life. So, what do I do in the nasty now and now, while waiting for the sweet bye and bye?” Isaiah 43 (ESV) “But now, this is what the Lord says, he who created you … who formed you … FEAR NOT, for I have redeemed you …” (qal – to buy back) “… I have called you by name, you are mine…” Wow oh wow, have you ever felt like a forgotten dog at the pound? He HAS chosen US … called our name … and said “you are mine”. So, v2 “when (not if) you pass through the waters, I will be with you …” Oh, the waters will come in this life, but because we are chosen and have believed, we are NOT ALONE. “… and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you …” Sometimes we go through the rivers and sometimes they go through us, but we need not be overwhelmed = shataph – drown, overflow, gush out, flow out abundantly, to inundate. “… when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flames shall not consume you.” v3 “FOR, I am the Lord your God … your Savior” = mosia – to be spacious, ample, broad, to set free, to give victory. Oh Dear Fellow Traveler … when the flood waters rise, and the rivers crest and change direction, and ends up in our front yard, when it seems that it is all closing in, how, where, can we find freedom, a spacious place, an ample space to be free? The freedom comes from within.
So, John 7:38, and Isaiah 43:2 teach us something. IF the waters come around us, rise over us, they don’t have to gush out from us. As a matter of fact they CANNOT, if we place our faith IN Christ. Why? It is because something else occupies that space. The ESV says “whoever believes IN me, as the scriptures have said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
The toxic waters flooding around can’t overflow or gush out because I have a river of life flowing out of me. And by the way, the river flowing from within isn’t just a metaphor, no the river is Somebody. V39 says he was referring to The Holy Spirit, given to all who believe. Hallelujah, when I believe, Jesus, gives me access (Isaiah 12:3) to drink from the well of salvation, and places his Spirit within me and streams of living water flow within me.
Spring Up Oh Well!