He’s trying to get my attention. Everywhere I turn, there’s a word, a message, a song, something that speaks to ‘waiting on God’, or ‘spending time with God’. The sermon last week was “Sitting at Jesus’ Feet”, how Mary had found the good thing while Martha, who invited Jesus into her home, was busy with tasks involved in serving her guests. I love how Jesus did not condemn or ridicule Martha when she asked him to tell Mary to get up and help her. In fact, it was suggested that Martha may have been a bit rude as she spoke to Jesus about Mary. Even so, Jesus still responded with love as he said that Mary had found the good thing and it would not be taken from her. Luke 10:38-42.
There’s another example of spending time with Jesus and that’s finding Him in the river. He wants to be found. He’s already there, waiting, we just need to discipline ourselves, to choose to spend time with Him.
As in other studies I have published, I like to use the King James Version, so if you have your own favourite version, please use it to read along with us. If other Bible versions are used, they are indicated at the end of the verse(s). The links in this study are for the Blue Letter Bible so you can follow them if you’re not at home while reading this. In addition, I do not receive any compensation for the links.
When we think about water, we know it is very powerful. The force of water, over time, can smooth out rough edges of stones in the river bed. Water itself is our life force for without it we will die. Jesus answered and said to the woman at the well, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. John 4:10 (NKJV.) And again a few chapters later he said in John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. (NKJV).
Water, rivers. Let’s go back to Ezekiel 47. I love this chapter. I remember when I first heard a message on this river, it was at a church camp. Though I don’t recall who the speaker was, the message has stayed with me.
Let’s look at what the Scripture says. The prophet, Ezekiel, had a vision and in it he saw a river trickling out from under the temple flowing eastwards from the right side of the temple. He was led by his guide to the south side of the temple where he saw water trickling out from the altar. The two of them walked along side this trickle to the point where the guide walked into the water to measure it and the water was at his ankles. They continued further down the river to a spot where they entered the river again to measure and found themselves knee deep, then further on again, the water was waist deep. One more time they measured and the water was now so high that he could not pass through it. Then the guide led him back to the river shore and asked him what he saw. He looked and there were trees along both sides of the river, trees growing in abundance in the desert land. Everything that was in the water was full of life, vibrant and plentiful. Everywhere the river flowed, healing came to the area because of the water.
Only in the river.
That’s the story in a nutshell. But let’s look at this again. The river began as a trickle flowing out from the temple but then became deeper the further he walked into it. So deep that he could swim and be carried along in the water. Not only is this a deep river, but it is a river teeming with life. Fish were plentiful and the trees growing alongside the riverbanks could put their roots in deep and be nourished, growing healthy and strong.
The spiritual significance of this is Christ is the source of the river for from Him flows the river of living water as He stated in John 7:38. Christ is the head of the church. We are the body and as a natural body needs water to survive, so does the church body. It is our choice how deep we will wade into the river. To the ankles…will we stay in, just barely getting wet? Or should we wade out to the knees? It feels refreshing. Shall we turn back to the riverbank or go further? How about up to our waist? Shall we stay here for awhile then head back to the bank? But let’s go further, let’s go to the point where the water will lift us up so that we swim in the depths of it, saturating ourselves in this life-giving water.
But what else do we see from this? The river is flowing with water, not standing water like in a pond. The gospel is moving forward. The Great Commission is to preach it everywhere. Everywhere where there is life. This river is constantly running with water. The further it goes, the fuller it grows as we see from the progression of ankle to knee to waist deep and then til it is so deep that we swim. Not only is the water full of life, it is also full of healing. The water heals everything it touches. We see this as many believers are hearing the gospel message, repenting of their sin and receiving forgiveness and salvation. That is healing.
Jesus wants to find us in the river so we can spread the good news to those around us.
As a blogger, and yourself, as a reader of blogs, the gospel message is being shared over the internet, through blogs and websites, reaching people one by one. As we read of life stories, how God has touched lives, healed people, forgiven sinners and extended His mercy to them, we are observing the work of grace in hearts of people everywhere. The Holy Spirit is at work making a difference in those who are in the river.
As we share the gospel, it isn’t just for those who need a Saviour, it is also for those who are saved, who are hurting and need Jesus to bring healing to their lives, who need refreshing in their spirits, who need to be reminded of God’s great love for them. We share Christ with everyone, saved and unsaved. Believer and non-believer. We do this by digging into the Word of God, searching out the deep truths, applying them to our lives so that we can live out the call that God has placed on our lives. And we share what we learn. Teaching, exhorting and admonishing, in love.
When we search the Scriptures, that is go into the river, sometimes we find things that are very easy to understand and apply to our lives. Other times, the river gets deeper and the truth is harder to grasp, which means we have to dive in deeper to understand it. We walk up to our knees and waist. Then there are times when we can’t touch the river bottom and so we turn back to the safety of the river bank and try again. The slow trickle of the water’s edge is easy to manage, to learn, to apply and as we venture deeper, the truth becomes more challenging, requires us to lay down our will to take on the will of the Father.
We need to go deep. To stay as long as we can, be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) and walk in the newness of life. Walk as the Spirit leads us. Walk as we are called to walk.
How are you doing? Are you wading at the river’s edge or further in to your waist? Are you making the time to be like Mary and sit at Jesus’ feet to learn of Him? Are you searching the deep things of God?
If you’re struggling with finding time to be with God, decide to ‘make‘ the time. Here are some things you can do to get back with God:
- Put Him on your calendar, like an appointment.
- Start off wading ankle deep, even five minutes at a time will make a difference.
- Do that daily until you can venture further to your knees, maybe it’s 15 minutes.
- When that becomes easy to do, venture to your waist, possibly 30 minutes a day.
- However deep you go, the point is to find yourself in the river. Find yourself drinking of the living water that flows freely for you. Find yourself thirsting for more of God.
Find the river.
The point of this message is to make the time to sit at Jesus’ feet. You need to learn of Him through reading His word, your Bible. You need to just talk with Him, pouring out your thoughts and feelings to Him. You need to pray. You need the Holy Spirit.
I know this is a cliche but it is true. Seven days without bread makes one weak.
Find yourself heading for the river, heading for the place where your spirit can be refreshed.
Find the river!
If this post has encouraged you in any way, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!