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Have you ever experienced a feeling like something was overflowing from you? Perhaps you sing and you have had moments where your voice seems to take on a power all its own. You may be a painter, and you have pieces that moved from your soul to the brush before your mind even comprehended them. Those of us who write or speak have moments in which it feels like words are being downloaded through us. I have also heard architects, engineers, runners, and dancers express similar occurrences.

There is a point in calling or creativity (which is a piece of the Imago Dei in us) at which it can feel like the person of God himself picks us up and whatever “work” we are creating becomes almost effortless as though it is flowing from us. 

Culture has several names for this concept. We who walk with Christ, though, recognize it is the Holy Spirit.

In the last segment, we explored the fact that (this side of eternity) we will always be encountering chaos at some level. The reality of chaos and the hope to overcome it are central themes throughout all of scripture. A glance at life around us offers ample understanding.

We live in a broken world. It is beautiful as it reflects its Creator. It is writhing as it tells the story of the sin and rebellion that shattered it, and it sings its song — one moment melodic, another dissonant — as it waits in agonized anticipation for Him to return and make all things new! If you listen, you can hear the song; you can hear the cry.

We also discussed the river. If you haven’t read that first piece, you can do so here.

The river is a beautiful vision in Ezekiel 47 (as he prophecies from the midst of exile and loss… from chaos as it were) of God’s Presence over trouble. The picture is a promise, not only of God’s ability to overwrite the helplessness and hopelessness we face when we encounter chaos but also a portrait of the gospel, the way He will fulfill His promise of the coming Messiah. His presence will again be available to humanity as it was in the garden! He will take us as deep in Him as we are willing to go! Ah the river!

A beautiful thing about scripture is that it keeps Christ central. The Old Testament points to His coming, and many of the stories and characters are types or shadows or figments of who Jesus would be and the Kingdom He would bring. The New Testament reveals Him as the promised Messiah and then highlights how we, His people and His church, should live in light of His Kingdom and commands.

We get a taste of this when we jump forward from Ezekiel’s vision to the New Testament in the book of John chapter 7. Here we see Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles, a celebration of harvest and a contemplation of gratitude in remembrance of the years they wandered and lived in tents before settling in the land God had promised them. It is in the midst of this jovial celebration that Jesus does something we might consider strange:

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him  come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me,  as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of  living water.’”  Now  this he said about the Spirit,  whom those who believed in him were to receive,  for as yet the Spirit had not been  given,  because Jesus was not yet glorified.   John 7:37-39 ESV

Can you see the connection? Hundreds of years later, Jesus is describing a scene much like Ezekiel’s vision.

Water flows from the Temple – Jesus is the temple (where God’s Spirit dwells)

John indicates Jesus is speaking of the Spirit — that the Spirit will flow from the temple.

Paul tells us we, Jesus’ church, are the Temple (2 Corinthians 6:16). 

And Jesus said if we believe in Him, rivers of life would flow from us!

It is not that we are the source of this life – only Jesus can be the Source. Rather, when we are born again in Christ, we become the temple. Just as the presence of God filled the Temple in the Old Testament, the Spirit of God comes to fill us when we surrender to Jesus as Savior. Then as followers of Christ, the Holy Spirit overflows through us to offer life and refreshing to a world in chaos.

When I was young, my parents had name plaques for our entire family. Each one was adorned with our first name, its meaning, and a supporting scripture. The noted meaning for my name was “refreshing one.” It was a just a decorated piece of wood, but somehow it sang to me from the wall every time I read it. I often felt that I was not refreshing. Being a fallen human, I could be selfish, harbor ill thoughts toward others, or feel jealous. Those realities were far from refreshing. Even so, that name plaque seemed full of a promise that there was more to my purpose, my design, and my calling than I was living at that moment. As I encountered Jesus and sought to live more and more surrendered to the Spirit, it became clear that my ability to be refreshing was directly dependent upon my devotion to being refreshed by Him.

If I immerse myself in the River, I emerge so saturated with Him, He exudes from me to refresh those around me.

The beauty of that is, no matter what our names mean, we have been given a new name in Christ, and it was He who promised that if we come to Him, if we drink deep of Him who is our living water, Holy Spirit will flow out of our hearts, and we cannot only overcome in our own responses to the chaos of life’s brokenness, we can also bring living water and hope to others.

Just as God called Ezekiel in his vision and just as Jesus called out on the last day of the feast, they are still calling us today.

“Come to the River. Be immersed in Me. Come to me and drink, and streams of living water will flow from you.”

How does this rest with your soul? Do you feel filled by His presence? Do you feel as though He flows from you with refreshing springs to others?

If not, what could you start today to change that? This prayer might be helpful.

Abba Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, I need more of you. Please fill me with a desire for more of You. Fill me with a longing to meet with You in prayer and in reading Your Word. I ask you to refresh me continually and fill me with Yourself, Holy Spirit, so that I may bring streams of life to the hurting world around me. Do not let me be content with ankle deep, Lord. I want to answer Your call. I ask in Jesus’ Name.

I encourage you to go and read Ezekiel 47 and John 7 again. See what more God may have to say to you. I pray you find yourself filled to the fullness of the Lord and overflowing in life to those around you. This is what we were made for. You were created to live a life of calling!

Much love,