"In His majesty [I write] victoriously for the cause of truth...for the Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary." ~ Isaiah 50:4 (ESV)
Friday, July 19, 2013
LEGACYouth: White-Water Reflections
The concept of “river” is quite unique, as it is a fitting symbol for life and the Holy Spirit.
As a metaphor of life, a river possesses both positive and negative connotations. For instance, a river can have peaceful moments marked by tranquility, but occasionally be rocky and turbulent. Sometimes, we feel buoyant, enjoying the thrill of the rush; other times, we feel like we’re sinking, barely keeping our head above the water.
As a metaphor of the Holy Spirit, a river is a current of God’s nature, channeled through the Spirit to us. Unlike the prior comparison, the river as Spirit is a purely uplifting allegory. For instance, a rushing river, according to Scripture, is a symbol of peace and intimacy with God, in addition to a place where we can feel safe and secure. In the Bible, multiple authors compare life with the Spirit to being known in a prosperous habitation, and life without the Spirit as being lost in a desert wasteland.
In John 4, Jesus dialogues with a Samaritan woman mired in her own wasteland – a complex mix of rejection and shame. Intersecting her pursuit for physical water, Jesus tells the woman if she knew the gift of God (i.e. Christ’s identity*), she would have asked for what she didn’t know to ask for: living water. In other words, Jesus was going after the deepest form of thirst possible, so deep, the woman had no cognitive recognition of it.
What is this “living water”? It is the Lord’s ever-present way of bringing life to the very places we’re called to love out of (i.e. heart, soul, mind, strength). *By his mention of gift, Jesus not only refers to his immediate presence, but foreshadows the Holy Spirit that was to come. So not only is “living water” a living illustration of the good news of the Gospel – a celebration of our continual relationship with God, but it’s also Jesus himself.
So in light of what we know of “living water”, why is it we’re afraid to get a little wet? Furthermore, what keeps us from going in for the full soaking? If life with Christ is like a river, it makes little sense to want a few droplets of water splashing onto us.
Illustration: You got to ask yourself if you’re an ankle wader or a full-on swimmer.
Visual: If anyone is parched and wants a drink of water, yet only pours a sip into a cup, why would we think this is smart or desirable? Talk about ridiculous, right? However, how often do we come to the Lord like this? Do you think Jesus is content with giving us a drop of His "living water" or do you think He'd rather sweep us away in his current, which is how He is able to take us where we need to go: in Him and in life.
Landing: The river runs for those who seek His face. The question is: are we constantly seeking it? Or are we seeking it only some of the time? Are we being honest with ourselves if we say we’re truly content with the “river as life” metaphor only? Or will we accept God’s invitation to go deeper with him, risking vulnerability at the surface for unfathomable satisfaction in the deep places.