Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious God
for worthless idols.
Be appalled at this, you heavens,
and shudder with great horror,”
declares the Lord.
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
- Jeremiah 2:11-13
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
- John 7:37-39
“Don’t you need regular sips from God’s reservoir? I do. In countless situations – stressful meetings, dull days, long drives, demanding trips – and many times a day. I step to the underground spring of God. There I receive anew his work for my sin and death, the energy of his Spirit, his lordship, and his love.
“Drink with me from his bottomless well. You don’t have to live with a dehydrated heart.
“Receive Christ’s work on the Cross,
the energy of his Spirit,
his lordship over your life,
his unending, unfailing love.
“Drink deeply and often. And out of you will flow rivers of living water.”
- Max Lucado, Come Thirsty
NOTE: The photo above was after a thunderstorm while walking around the museum and garden areas of downtown Shanghai almost 20 years ago. Any relationship with that day and how much sweat I produced in the following story are purely coincidental.
Again, it seems that one bit of writing ties into another. Yesterday, I talked about using tact, but I also talked about how I got tired when around other people all day and I needed to recharge the batteries. But how do you recharge batteries after a hard day? Go to God, the endless energy source.
Jesus called Himself living water in John on more than one occasion. Jeremiah used the expression twice in reference to God. Zechariah 14 mentions living water, but that may have some relationship with the living water mentioned in Revelation 7.
As the summer months approach, my intolerance to hot temperatures makes it hard to be tactful, patient, etc. On the day that this was written, my wife went to have bloodwork done, in preparation for two doctor appointments. Our car has a tiny leak in the air-conditioning system that the mechanic could not find, but he recharged it a year ago. So, being a new summer, we had no a/c. It was about 73F (22C), but that is too hot for me. I carried a refrigerated bottle of water, not to drink, but to slip inside my shirt while I was driving.
My goal was to drive as quickly as possible to the clinic, then to the grocery store, then home. My goal, “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom.” Get everything done quickly before the temperature increased in the afternoon.
After the tenth person who got in front of me on the highway going well under the speed limit, I grumbled that they could at least go a little faster. Five of them came to a complete stop to turn right, several car lengths short of the stop and then ease forward to the intersection at a snail’s pace. This is Pennsylvania where people drive 30-40 mph over the speed limit unless there is a cop, and I drove past one of those who had set up a speed trap. I am usually the slow driver that gets in other people’s way. Finding one driver that is slower than me in a three-month span is rare. But ten slowpokes and only going ten miles from the house? And I have never seen someone stop well short of the intersection and creep toward it to turn since we moved to Pennsylvania 24 years ago. Then five in one 20 mile round trip? Can you call something bad a miracle?
Upon the last of these slowpokes, my wife asked, “Is it God teaching you patience or is it the Devil having fun with you?” She had heard me muttering, but we had not discussed the strange traffic. I guess getting the question asked out loud was the signal that the fun and games were over. The last four miles were without incident.
But although I grumbled a bit, although the delays only cost us 10-15 minutes in the heat, although the outside temperature only increased 2-3 degrees in that time, I only honked once. That was when we sat through an entire left-turn signal at a busy intersection because the driver in front had fallen asleep. I honked just as the light turned yellow. The traffic light was a very long light on a busy highway right in front of the clinic to which we were going. The traffic light did not circle back to us for five minutes, and in driving-years, that’s a lifetime. The next time that we got the green arrow, I was prepared to honk again, but the previous honk had awakened the man in front. He moved on the second try, at a pace that never registered on my speedometer. Thus, I could never even claim one mile per hour, but we were moving. Since I had honked, maybe I deserved that one.
All of this to explain that with the frustrations, the physical exertion, the exposure to the heat, I was physically drained, after only being gone about one and a half hours. Yet, I was not angry with any of these drivers. I was just glad to get home, not only to the cool air, but to my place where I can plug in my physical, spiritual and emotional battery charger, my place of prayer and writing.
It is like the Scripture above from Jeremiah. The unending source of living water is available, but we have made a total mess of things, even having our man-made energy source a leaky one, a cistern that cannot hold water. God’s energy source is there, but do we seek after it?
God is good. All the time, even when a slowpoke pulls out in front of you and then nine more, even when you feel that the inside of your car is a huge crock pot and you are being slow-cooked for some eternal being’s supper.
But God can reclaim those who have let their batteries run dry. His living water is eternal, and it is much stronger than normal battery acid. Sure, the mortal husk that contains my soul is broken, and the man-made automobile that we drive is broken. I constantly need my leaking internal battery refilled in order to function. I will call our mechanic and see when I can get the car’s a/c recharged. I wonder what else will need a refill?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.