Scrubbing Out the Cistern

But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:16 ESV

In Jesus’ day, a rain-water cistern was a common source for water. I know about cisterns, because on the farm where I lived as a teenager, that was where our water came from. But having grown up in the city I didn’t realize just exactly how dirty it could become. Then one summer I was asked to clean it when it was almost empty. First, they lowered me down by ropes and then I spent about two hours bailing out the remaining water and scrubbing the bottom with bleach water. I will never forget the mud and other assorted stuff we bailed out, and how great I felt when the following year we had a real well drilled!

The religious experience of many of us is like getting water from a cistern. We go to church on Sunday for a good scrubbing, and then get refilled for the week. After we walk out the door, all kinds of gunk falls in during the week and we need another cleaning by the weekend. But Jesus is offering more than just a good scrubbing now and then. He says that when He enters into our lives, He becomes an unending spring of pure water that leads us to eternal life. Instead of cleaning out and refilling our cistern, Jesus offers to drop spiritual dynamite into our hearts, when we come to His cross. At the cross Jesus once and for all scrubs us clean from our sins and then connects us to the well of living water that gives eternal life. There is no more scrubbing out the cistern when Jesus comes in to drill the well!

Made For Life

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22:1-2

It seems strange, though it shouldn’t at my age, to think that so many of my family and my friends have gone into eternity while I remain here. That sobering thought turns me to wondering what it will be like in my own last moments here and first moments before God. How brave will I be when I put my foot into the boat that will take me across God’s great river?

Though for the Christian there is no fear in death, it still seems so wrong – so unnatural – so contrary to the joy of life that is seated deep within our hearts no matter our age. One day it came to me; that, it feels unnatural because it is. God made us for life!

Everything in heaven is about life. Jesus is the way the truth and the LIFE. The words He spoke were Spirit and LIFE. He offers a a drink of LIVING water and whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal LIFE. There is nothing in God’s plan that has anything whatsoever to do with death. We must choose to live every day with our focus on life, because that is what He created us for. We may no longer be strong, but the strength of the life of Christ is greater in weakness. We might not be able to do certain things easily, but we can do all things through Christ. Then one day, in the words of the Apostle Paul, when death has been swallowed up in victory we will be changed from this life to the next. Depression and the fear of death lose their grip when we remember that Jesus has a life to give us that is more abundant and overflowing that we could ever imagine!

This wonderful video from the Mullett family is not just a well filmed piece – it is their story. Their son Austin passed away in 2010 after17 years of battling through one serious medical condition after another and yet they have turned their grief into a ministry of the joy of life that Jesus gives. I hope you will be as blessed as I was to watch. Maybe you will shed a happy tear when you are touched by the mystery of the joys and sorrows we pass through on the way to eternal life. Have a blessed week-end everybody!

Strength for The Journey

IMG_4727And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”           I Kings 19:7

Elijah was on a journey and like we who are facing the beginning of a new year, he only knew where the journey began. As I look back over 2014 I am in some ways thankful that we didn’t know in advance what we would pass through. Two of our closest friends were kissed good-bye for the final time, our grandson’s kidney failure continues its path unabated, and dear friends moved away to Brazil. But along with the struggles have also come great blessings such as our son finally finding a wonderful job after a year-long search. These are just a few of the many threads which God chose to weave into the pattern we can see now only as we look back .

Today we stand at the starting line of a new race. There will be many miles, mountains and valleys to pass through and one part of me is like Elijah. I just want to do the minimum and lie down to sleep again. I feel exhausted just thinking about what may lie ahead on this road to points unknown. But God has promised above all things to be with us. He will neither leave us nor fail us. He has baked bread with His own hands on the coals and brought us a cup of cold water directly from His crystal river. He is shaking us awake. We dare not sleep as the disciples did when Jesus prayed at Gethsemane. Our greatest challenges lie ahead and we will need to be wide awake and eat and drink all that our God has sent. In our own strength the journey will be too great. But God has sent His angel. God has given us living bread and the water of life, and these will give us His strength to journey all the way to the mountain of God!