I am fortunate enough to live in beautiful Western North Carolina right outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a land full of rivers, streams and lakes where the water flows right out of the ground. It’s very different from the high desert where I grew up in Southern California. As a matter of fact the water at my home comes from a pristine mountain spring where it is collected and piped into a reservoir. We usually don’t give it much thought until something goes wrong which is usually at the least opportune time.
Over the years a few things have happened to stop the flow of water. Periodically our friendly neighborhood bear decides he wants a drink and tips over the collection box. Other times smaller animals have nibbled holes into the pipe. Even though they are small enough of them start to make a big difference. Once our neighbor adjusted the valves and inadvertently bypassed our tank. Oops. And there was the time when we were in an extended drought and the spring just couldn’t keep up with the demand. That was exciting!
But I want to focus on one specific time where we lost water. The spring was fine, the pipe intact and the reservoir was full but we still had no water. What happened was roots had clogged the line between the tank and the house. It was an ordeal to fix. See water is life –
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” - John 7:38 KJV
So what happens when the living water stops flowing in our life? Well I promise nothing good. Just look at the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea in Israel. Both have water flowing into them but only Galilee has water flowing out. The Sea of Galilee is teeming with life, the Dead Sea well, is named appropriately. Where water is stagnant bad things begin to happen. See God wants our lives to be rivers not reservoirs. He wants to fill us with life so that we can share it with other.
I love that Jesus said ‘streams’, as in more than one. I believe that He has living water for us spiritually, relationally, physically, emotionally, financially… You get the picture. But when that life flows in and stops it’s not good for us or anyone else around us. We are supposed to be conduits not consumers. We have to release the flow!
As best as I can tell there are 3 things that can stop the flow through our lives. God. The enemy. Us. Let me explain.
God parted the Red Sea and stopped the Jordan River. He also dried up the brook Elijah was drinking from. When God stops the flow it is because we are in transition. We need to recognize the season we are in and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as we move forward. Sometimes God must create some discomfort for us to leave what has become familiar.
Sometime the enemy stops the flow. In Genesis 26:15-22 we see the Philistines stop up the wells that Abraham dug. Isaac had to re-dig 3 wells before he was successful. He named the last well Rehoboth which translates as ‘spaciousness’. Spiritual Warfare is work but if we want to walk in victory we have to engage in the battle.
And at times we are responsible for the blockage. Sin, greed, selfishness, misplaced priorities, unforgiveness and pride are just a few of the dams in our lives. See we stop the flow when we get full! When we are full of ourselves or any of these other things there isn’t room left for God to pour into us. We have to get empty which means getting rid of all the things that don’t belong. It also means allowing what does belong to flow freely out of us and into other people. We must recognize that the living water comes from Jesus and is the Holy Spirit. In John 4 Jesus floods the life of a Samaritan woman who immediately begins to pour into others. The result was that many from her town put their faith in Jesus too. Let’s trust Him today to tear down the dams and to get life flowing once again!