Never Thirst Again
God gave Koh Zhi Guo Daniel a powerful insight - the key is NOT to walk away in dry moments but to run toward Him.
Another virtual Life Conference for the second year running because of COVID-19. “Do you want a fix or life?” boomed Rev Ong Sek Leang. A quick fix or to be fixed for life? I leaned in closer to my screen.
Moments earlier, Rev Ong had been describing the landscape of spiritual dryness – an almost tangible distance from God that one experiences when far and lost from home, staggering under the burdens of life that seem heavier with every passing moment.
“Why do we experience spiritual dryness?” the Senior Pastor of Metro Tabernacle (Kuala Lumpur) asked. I gleaned four whys or “Ss” from his message: (1) personal Sin; (2) the physical, emotional, and mental Stress of life; (3) Satanic or spiritual oppression by the enemy; and (4) the season of being Strengthened through discipline. His last point reminded me of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert (one cannot get a drier landscape than that) and His preceding 30 anonymous years of preparation for His ministry on earth.
“So do you want a fix, or live the abundant life God has purposed for you?” I heard Rev Ong’s voice reverberate in my mind. He recited David from the 63rd Psalm:
O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You,
In a dry and weary land
Where there is no water. (Psalms 63:1)
Like a clap of thunder, Rev Ong exhorted us to desire God, to drink of His presence in worship and fellowship (which does not include “pity-parties!”), to go “back to the basics of our Christian Faith” by remembering the “gift of God” (John 14:10) when we first received our salvation, and to relentlessly engage in spiritual warfare like an experienced soldier in battle.
A sudden flash of insight from the battle-hardened preacher came to me: the key is NOT to walk away in dry moments but to run toward God. “For God invites us to draw [daily] from His Living Water,” he expounded, “and for it to spring forth to others through us.” (John 4:13-14) Rev Ong spoke not of the often-heard “showers of blessings” to quench the dry heath within or the barren landscape without; but rather to thirst even more instead for the Living Water freely given to us that will give life to not just ourselves, but to our family, workplaces, churches, communities, and the nations.
As Rev Ong’s Never Thirst Again message continued to resonate with me, a new stream of refreshment flowed forth from Rev Dishan Wickramaratne, “It’s time to draw Living Water,” the Senior Pastor of People’s Church (Sri Lanka) declared as he began his message, The Gift of Living Water.
In the Old Testament, sometimes a single person would hear from God for generations. These were the Samsons, Samuels, Elijahs, etc. Today, as believers living in the new covenant, we are empowered with the Holy Spirit and are no longer distanced from God’s voice. And yet, very often, we do not drink of the Living Water as Jesus invites us to:
‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ 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)
The Holy Spirit has been poured onto us. It is indeed time to draw on the gift of Living Water! In Rev Dishan’s words, it is God’s Priority, Plan, and Promise.
It is God’s Priority for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “Wait for the gift my Father promised,” Jesus said, “which you have heard Me speak about.” (Acts 1:4). While the disciples had the Gospel message, they weren’t yet empowered with the Holy Spirit. Believers NEED to draw Living Water from the well of God to live out the Gospel fully. The early church leaders, I learnt, made it a priority for believers to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-15;19:1-2), a powerful reminder that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was and remains essential.
It is God’s Plan to draw Living Water. It occurred to me that it takes daily effort to draw water. Rev Dishan said, “Paul encouraged the Ephesian church in Ephesians 6:10 to ‘be strong in the Lord.’ We need to be strong. It doesn’t just happen. It’s not evolution that just becomes with the passage of time.” To grow up in our faith, we need to be deliberate in drawing on Living Water.
God has Promised us Overflowing Life. In Acts 4, Peter being filled with the Holy Spirit spoke boldly before the teachers of the law and the high priest, for Peter and John could not “help speaking about what [they had] seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20). It struck me that they could not help but be filled with overflowing!
Rev Dishan continued: “Note in Acts 2:17 that God will ‘pour out [His] spirit on all people.’ Pour ‘out’ – not pour ‘down.’” At that moment, I got it: God’s Living Water in us will overflow and be poured out into others, touching their lives with the love and power of Jesus Christ! That’s why Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “The water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-15) Amen!
As dry as the spiritual landscape may seem outwardly with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: empty pews, online services; and as parched as we might feel inwardly from spiritual dryness – let us run to God and so “never thirst again” with “the gift of living water.” In our thirst, may we drink deeply of God’s Living Water to the strains of the familiar hymn as we sing, “As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after Thee.”
Reflect & Respond
Have you been running away from God in dry moments? What can you do to daily drink from God's living water?
How can your life reflect God's overflowing living water on others around you?