Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry


Part 3


By Rayola Kelley

      How powerful is water? It depends on where it is located, what is moving it, and whether it is pure or not. The truth is water is needed for life, needful to preserve life, and necessary to sustain life. Water is a source of life and death. In creation it can be soothing to the spirit, refreshing to the soul, a knife that cuts through the countryside, or a destructive force.

       A good example of the power of water can be found in canyons and gorges, many which have been cut through and formed by rivers.  I think of Hells Canyon, which is the deepest river gorge in North America. It serves as the border between the state of Idaho and Oregon and it was carved by the great Snake River which is also known as our “Nile River.” 

      The scenery of Hells Canyon can be overwhelming if one simply stops, observes, and listens. To think the river that flows through this canyon was used like a sharp blade that pushed its way through rugged, formidable terrain, eroded the countryside, and now supports an eco-system that varies according to the terrain and sea level. The terrain starts from below sea level and ascends a mile up steep canyon walls.

      Canyons and gorges seemed to have their own weather system. We lived near Grangeville, Idaho, which was close to the Salmon River Canyon and Hells Canyon. Oftentimes in the early morning, especially during the fall, clouds hung around the edges of the canyon like a blanket, causing a surreal environment.

      The canyon also serves as a type of channel and blowhorn for the wind, which is also part of the great forces that move through these different canyons. The pattern the wind left in Hells Canyon as well as the sounds, always brought fascination to my soul. I would study the location, formation, and shape of the rocks that reminded me of a pinball machine where the wind would slam against an obstacle and then go around it in either direction, changing its force, course, and impact. I often felt that if we could see the results of the elements in operation, we would be pleasantly surprised. Clearly, Hells Canyon has been formed by great forces, but the great director behind the forces is the Creator.

      The summer heat in Hells Canyon dries up waterbeds and sources such as waterfalls, but in the springtime and early summer waterfalls can be seen that feed the Snake River. Once again, you realize that nothing can deter water from moving, interacting with its environment, and running free except for a dam or a drought, and in the right circumstances even a dam may have to give way to it.

      In 1996-1998, we lived in a place called the Lost River Basin, near Arco, ID. Much of the terrain is shaped by volcanic activity. It has a beautiful river running through the basin, but the river would disappear, earning its name. Where did the river go? Many believe it disappears into an underground river and tributaries that continue to ensure the life sustaining sources of the countryside.

      Water is living and it has its own frequency. According to reliable sources horses will not stand where there is an underground river. It is true that there is a frequency to water and it can calm or disrupt the frequency of other life. We can’t see this frequency, yet we can feel its affect upon our body when it is lacking water and we feel it when we are able to finally satisfy it. I know at night by drinking water, my body immediately seems satisfied and I can actually rest better.

      The waters of the world are an element we can’t ignore and we can’t take it for granted. We must be careful about the type of water we partake of. It is true that we can wash in certain types of water, yet not be able to drink it, and some of us drink water that is not free and would prove costly if used for other purposes.

      Let us consider the different waters of the world. It is important to note that in Genesis 1:6-10 that the Lord had to divide the waters which were under the firmament and above it. It goes on to say that He gathered the waters onto one place in order to bring forth dry land and then He gathered certain waters together and called them seas.

      The first thing we need to know is water is all about us, but it must be separated from the space or atmosphere around it. I read recently that the nation of Israel has developed a way to separate the water from the very air around them. After all, it is the air currents that contain moisture. The people of Israel have also learned how to filter salt from the ocean water in order to produce drinkable water.

      As believers we must always remember the water of heaven is available to us. It is in the very breath we take, but we must know how to tap into it for it to become the source that will ensure our spiritual life. We know that the water goes through a cycle to replenish the earth. It is called the hydrologic cycle that includes evaporation (ocean), atmospheric circulation (temperature and wind), condensation (storms), precipitation (rain), and run-off (snow) along with frozen ground and glaciers. Likewise, heavenly water must be allowed to freely flow in, through and out of our lives to ensure the abundance of spiritual fruit. We must know how to separate it from the profane waters of the world to ensure it sustains the life of Christ in us and not defiles it with impurities that would cause it to become repulsive and destructive to our spiritual well-being.

      The other thing we must note is that the water was gathered in certain places by our Creator to bring distinction to the land and named in order to associate it with certain functions. For example, the water where many civilizations thrived and commerce took place were called seas. Seas can include the oceans and large, deep bodies of water such as the Mediterranean Sea. 

      For the Christian, God’s Spirit and Word is associated with the heavenly water from above. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the Rivers of Living Water and the Word of God as a type of washing machine that cleanses from spots and blemishes. As the water, the Holy Spirit is uncapped within by Jesus who also immerses us in and with His Spirit, for the Spirit comes from above as a promise and gift of the Father. As water, the Holy Spirit awakens new life (regeneration) in a lifeless soul as He is unleashed to bring cleansing from the old decaying life, healing of spirit and heart, and reconciliation of the soul with God to bring forth complete spiritual restoration (Luke 24:48; John 4:10-14;7:37-39; Acts 2:4-8; Ephesians 5:26-27; Titus 3:5).

      When it comes to the Word of God, it cleanses for the purpose of bringing out the right reflection in our lives. The Spirit represents the presence of the new life of Christ in us while the Word of God is about transforming our attitude, our ways, and our conduct according to the new life in us. Transforming our attitude means bringing our mind into agreement with God’s attitude about a matter according to the identification, record, and witness of His Word. For example, God’s Word calls sin, sin, and is clear about what constitutes salvation, holiness, righteousness, grace, and mercy. When it comes to transforming our ways, it has to do with the unveiling of Christ as the only Way to truth and life in the Word, while conduct is changed through obedience to the Word by faith (John 14:6; Romans 8:29;12:1-2; James 1:21-25).

      Amos 8:11-12 tells us there will be a famine of the pure Word of God, and we are clearly seeing it with the presence of uninspired “versions” that have no spirit, truth, or life to them. Since they lack spirit there is no revelation to be found, since they lack life, they only present dead-letter religion, and without truth they will redefine what is true. We must not assume something with the title of “Bible” on it is God’s inspired, anointed Word.

      The world’s waters might sustain life as we know it, but they prove to be bitter to the spirit and unsatisfying to the soul. One of my favorite incidents concerning the children of Israel’s journey through the wilderness that I often ponder is found in Exodus 15:23-26. In the initial part of their journey the children of Israel after being led through the Red Sea were brought to the waters of Marah, but the water proved bitter to their taste. Needless to say, they murmured because it was not what they expected.

      Moses cried to God and the Lord showed Moses a tree that he cast into the water which made it sweet to the former slaves’ taste so they could freely drink. To me the tree is symbolic of the cross of Christ that was cast into the midst of humanity that was enslaved to sin and death. The cross cast a bitter shadow upon the land and the hearts of men, but became a source of great sweetness to believers upon Christ’s resurrection.     

      The sweet waters of Marah sustained them until they were led to the oasis in Elim where twelve wells of water were waiting for the travelers (Exodus 15:27). After the cross of Christ came the Water of Pentecost in Acts 2, where people were baptized with the Holy Ghost. The oasis’s in our lives, whether physical or spiritual, are a mere stopping point where one is prepared to go on to what has been promised.

      The bitter waters of the world also point to broken cisterns that possess either stagnant waters, muddy waters, or are void of all water. Cisterns were made to collect and hold water during dry seasons. For water to maintain freshness, it must be allowed to flow or there must be fresh water coming in to ensure that the present water does not become stagnant. The greatest threat to the Christian life is complacency.

      When we think of complacency, we think of the lukewarm Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-19. This city was located in a fertile valley. It had two rivers that it could tap into for water and had a sophisticated network of channels, pipes, reservoirs, and a fountain, but there was a problem because there were also hot mineral springs that would warm the water or the aqueducts producing lukewarm water that smelled of sulfur and proved nauseating to the taste. In short, for such a great city of wealth and commerce, it had poor water.

      James 2:2-13 speaks about the dichotomy of the tongue where it can spew out both blessings and curses. It goes on to ask if a fountain sends forth, at the same place, both sweet water and bitter? The answer is no. Bad combinations point to the fact that the source has become corrupted in some way and the water of Laodicea proved that a mixture can do nothing more but create poor water.

      Complacency points to an unhealthy compromise with the world which produces indifference and/or neglect towards God, resulting in the Christian failing to make the necessary investments into their spiritual life to keep it vibrant. The source of such a mixture points to a divided heart which is an idolatrous heart. As believers, we have the wealth of heaven behind us and we have eternal gems that bring great value to our lives, but if our fresh water supply of the Holy Spirit is missing, we will prove to be the poorest of all individuals. The lack of spiritual investment ends in the spirit becoming lean, the soul restless, and the mind confused and uncertain. Hebrews 2:3 summarizes it in this way, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him”? 

      The problem with complacency is that since you are not really doing anything wrong, you must be okay and if you are being blessed in a materialistic way, you can convince yourself that the Lord does not have any problem with your brand of Christianity. However, it is clear that the Lord does have a problem with it. He tells those at Laodicea that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, and He will spit them out in utter disgust and judgment unless they zealously and quickly repent (Revelation 3:15-19).

      However, cisterns do not only point to that which holds water but to souls as well. When it talked about drinking from your own cistern in Proverbs 5:15, it is making reference to those who commit whoredom with others instead of maintaining their own bodies from fornication and staying true to their God and spouse. This points to spiritual muddy waters that are not only unattractive, but completely defiled.

      In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7, the Apostle Paul tells us the will of God is to possess our bodies (vessels), in sanctification and honor by abstaining from all fornication to avoid giving way to the lust of concupiscence. He goes on to explain that we must not defraud ourselves by giving false impressions as to our intentions to others as many do in dating practices, for we are called to holiness.

      It is important to point out that water mixed with dust creates mud. Names can be written in mud and in the dust of the earth, but eventually the winds of time will come and dry out the land and blow away the dust, erasing all vain legacies (Jeremiah 17:13).

      There are also waters of judgment. The first waters of judgment were that of the great flood. Water is used to wipe clean that which has been made dirty or defiled by the environment. In the days of Noah, a wicked environment existed, but to spare Noah from His wrath, God had His servant prepare an ark that would deliver him and his family through God’s judgment, lift them above His wrath, and bring them to dry ground upon which an altar could be built and burnt sacrifices offered by Noah to the Creator for His good pleasure (Genesis 6:5-14, 7:17, 23; 8:20-21).

      The next time God deals with the world it will be with fire. Fire purges, but for the believer Jesus is our ark and we are hidden in His life. We are lifted above wrath into high places with Him (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:3). Our water cleanses inwardly to bring forth everlasting fruit.

      Second Peter 2:12-19 talks about those who were like wells without water. Who are those who advocate that they possess a source of water but end up proving to be dry wells? These are the wolves of our age and the self-serving shepherds who have no love for the sheep. They tickle ears while seducing the vulnerable to follow them into defiled pigpens of the world (1 Timothy 4:1-3). They are those who live in error and promote heresy, idolatry, and paganism. These individuals speak great swelling words of vanity as a means to allure people through their lusts into a spiritual desert of darkness and destruction. They promise liberty, when in reality they themselves are servants of corruption. The Apostle Paul describes them as being enemies of the cross, whose end is destruction for God is their belly and glory will be their shame for they mind earthly things (Philippians 3:18-19).

      Jesus said due to the great deception in the end of the last days, these empty wells would be dominant. Sadly, many people seek out these wells in great expectation, looking for water that will satisfy. These heretical individuals must be discerned and properly identified, so those who are clean can escape from these counterfeits’ cesspools of corruption.

      As indicated, Jesus is our fountain from which His Living Water flows freely, as well as our well that will never run dry. Song of Solomon 4:12-16 talked about an enclosed garden which points to the heart. In this garden a fountain was sealed, but it is a well with living waters that come from the high places of Lebanon. All it will take is for the wind to blow upon the garden and allow the waters to flow and spices and pleasant fruit will come forth.

      Isaiah 12:3 talks about with joy drawing water out of the wells of salvation. There is not just one or a few facets to Jesus, but many and whether we experience that wonderful water through love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and so forth it is vibrant, refreshing and sweet. However, we must come to the well and be ready to partake from it if we are going to benefit from this wonderful water of heaven.

      Revelation 22:1-2 tells us of the waters that will heal people and nations. Perhaps that is why the last invitation to God’s people in Revelation 22:17 is so wonderful to the soul, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come, And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”