Heavy Water

“Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.” (Psalm 69:1)

Rainwater

David prays to God for relief from an emotional deluge. He continues: “I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.” (verse 2) Who knows all the molecules that conspired–one on top of another–to bring him to this point of desperation. I think God allows us to feel inundated for any number of reasons. Some that you can surmise and work out now. Like how He’s allowing the trial to make you stronger, etc. That’s a real broad and simple platitude when expressed with the wrong motive of heart, I should add. No one likes a circular statement of encouragement. As the truths inherent in your time of testing may be deeper than you can get at as yet, perhaps some good old-fashioned suffering might bring them to the surface? Whoops. That’s what I’m talking about. Should you be in proximity to a person treading deepwater, do your best to lift them up, not by words, but by deeds. Buy them coffee. Receive a word from the Lord for them that inspires them to keep moving. Love them in whatever way the Holy Spirit intimates to you. But make sure it’s love and not something–anything–else. Because anything else is like giving water to a drowning individual.

Bluewater

“Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At Thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which Thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.” (Psalm 104:6-8)

As an aside, I wonder about the opening of Genesis, I really do. Why would it say “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:3)? God’s ultimately in charge, yes. I believe He’ll let someone keep living who truly wants to work something out with Him. And I’m talking about the really deep ones. The ones who, all they’ve known is misery, having been born under a dark cloud and lived under that sky their whole life, who would be happier in Heaven. Should they choose to keep pressing on and bailing, God will reward their faith. There are a thousand variables, to be sure, but I think that unless someone really wants to go home–the suffering’s that bad–God will help them out of the flood. He’ll recall the waters and see to it that they never break open in the same way again. Don’t think me heretical but Jesus is just one person. This is why He’s called you, called me. While He can be everywhere by the Holy Spirit, He gives us the privilege of being His proxy to those He’s on the way to visit in person (“and about the fourth watch of the night He cometh unto them, walking upon the sea…” Mark 6:48). There’s a lot to this but, as I mentioned in the first section, this is another reason why we go through suffering. Granted, the easy answer of “to help others in the same position at some point in the future”, may not do much to alleviate when it’s spoken. The truth of the statement, however, will find root beneath all that water and once it abates, will sprout and produce fruit after its kind.

Deepwater

“And I saw a new Heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Revelation 21:1, emphasis mine)

Because it’s not needed anymore. Simple enough right? Here’s the thing about water though. It’s all over the place, literally. It essential for life. But it can also be the deadliest substance known to man. Our bodies are two-thirds water, much like the earth. It’ll put out a fire, but you really don’t worry about that if you’re drowning. Narrowing it down to specifics though, before the sea is done away with completely in your life, thank God for it. Ask Him to teach you why He allowed the “waters to come in unto [your] soul” in the first place. Because the more you grow with God, the more that point-in-time reason will begin to surface. Like Ararat after Noah’s ordeal. There was a reason. There’s always a reason. I’ve never been one to wait for Heaven and while away my days without possessing that kernel of understanding that would allow me to recolonize my world after the suffering had passed.

“And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Genesis 9:11)

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Traversing the Impassable

Wading in

“And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city…” (Joshua 3:15-16a)

A similar event to the parting of the Red Sea. You don’t really hear about Joshua and his troupe crossing the Jordan as often as you do Moses. While Joshua had his own unique exploits, the parting and crossing of Jordan were no less spectacular. Granted, the Red Sea was, well, a sea and Jordan was just a river. Without God, they’re both impossible to ford on dry ground. From there to here, then. God tells Joshua “as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.” (3:7) No sense comparing your circumstances to those of another. As long as you’re totally invested in what God is having you do, don’t concern yourself with the size or natural outworking of your ministry or following (especially in this age) or what-have-you. The purity (and therefore effectiveness, see Luke 16:10) of your calling requires that you give it your all. Step into the water. God will prove Himself strong for you. Don’t give up and don’t give in. Instead, wade in. While water might symbolize the impassable and the impossible, it also symbolizes God’s glory: “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14) Remember, the river Jordan crests “all the time of harvest”. I may be going all over the place with allusion here. Point is, God has the ability to make things good for you. The symbolism inherent in these stories is meant to both build your faith and buoy you until God makes a way where you saw none before.

“And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” (Joshua 3:5)

Waiting out

Rewinding a generation back to Moses and their flight from Egypt, to the banks of the Red Sea. Moses tells the people to “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew you to day.” (Exodus 14:13) Does God love you enough to deliver you? It’s one thing to wait out miserable circumstances that you had no hand in stirring up. It takes time to untangle hearts and iron out feelings and repay things owed–material/immaterial. Does the love of God shine through during these times? And what about circumstances that we did cause? Do we look for the love and understanding of the Father when we wait out circumstances that we can’t figure out on our own? One of the most powerful realizations to have during times of confusion is that God understands. He does.

Isaiah, chapter thirty, opens with God expressing His dismay and shock at His children looking elsewhere for what they need. “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!” (verses 1-2) It would seem a similar thing is happneing in Isaiah’s time as happened during Moses’. The children of Israel tell Moses “For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:12) to which Moses gives his response to “stand still”. He then makes this powerful declaration: “for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” God wants to effectively deal with, once-and-for-all, the things that have been plaguing you throughout your life. Issues of addiction and powerlessness he wants to replace with self-control and courage. Lack of insight and vision does He want to fill with a perspicacity that sees what’s going on and continues to look at Him in spite of what your feelings tell you. And He can do it no other way than to have you be still. “But let patience have her perfect work…” (James 1:4a)

“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; in returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15)

That’s a hard one. The last part of that verse says “and ye would not.” The cycle repeats itself many times over and generation after generation. So prove that last part wrong. God wants to do new things, big things and when we find ourselves inundated and in over our heads, it’s times like these that we must lay down our logic as to how to unravel things and simply press in to God. It’s actually not hard. The difficulty arises when we think we know better than God which way we’re headed.

Holding Water

There are all sorts of places we can go with this title.

From dealing with those who think Christianity doesn’t. To the whole “God uses cracked vessels” idiom. What about water retention? Which, by the way, if you’re not pregnant is not a good sign. Water retention in a body that’s not pregnant could be a sign of some sort of kidney dysfunction. Not fun.

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his (and her) belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38)

Jesus says something similar to the woman at the well in Samaria. “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.” (John 4:10)

Whenever we speak to someone, “Doth not the ear try words?” (Job 12:11) What Job is saying here is that people listen for something deeper than the words that you’re speaking. They want honesty, sure. But what they really want is truth. “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts…” (Psalm 42:7) I wouldn’t be so obsessed with the concept of truth if I didn’t see the thread of “truth” running so rampantly throughout the Bible. Jesus says that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6, emphasis mine). If I believe on and in Jesus, as He asks (see Mark 5:36), then I should have some consideration for the concept, let alone the ideal of truth. And if I then choose to believe and be labelled as a “Christian”, then anyone I’d choose to influence through my evangelization (for lack of a better word) is going to take what they hear—maybe dismiss the words—but feel my enthusiasm and sincerity and genuineness. Or lack thereof. It’ll resonate with them because the Holy Spirit witnesses to truth, ladies and gentlemen. And if I’m not truly believing and subsequently living it out, what I say ain’t gonna hold water. Let alone have any water to hold.

And this is the whole point of living as a Christian. You get this desire, this drive to tell everyone what you’ve found in Jesus. You want people to know and meet the God that introduced Himself to you in such a dramatic way. This newfound fervor is certainly part of the “rivers of living water” allusion which Jesus mentioned in John, chapter 7. But it’s more than that. One of God’s names is “El Shaddai” which is translated from Hebrew as “the God who is more than enough”. What God gives you, be it peace, joy, prosperity, health, hope or any number of other otherworldly qualities, begs to be shared.

You may have heard the old homily about how even though we might be a dry, cracked, leaky vessel, said vessel (us, mistakes and all) necessarily spills the content which it was designed to hold. This is good, this is true. And this is why when Paul says “be filled with the Spirit” in Ephesians (5:18, emphasis mine), it’s understood that we are in constant need of the Holy Spirit to fill us and fill us and refill us. Because if we are always giving out, even though our testiony “holds water”, we are not the source. And we’re not meant to keep it in, either.

Water retention happens for many reasons. When a person’s kidneys shut down, they stop filtering fluid out through the urinary tract and therefore the body will retain any fluid they’ve imbibed. It usually pools in the ankles and feet. Our system is not meant to retain fluids. By the same token, unforgiveness will keep the Holy Spirit from flowing through us. As the kidneys are to our body, so too, does forgiveness filter out the harmful and destructive emotions and feelings and actions that would stop the flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In Psalm 73, Asaph spends the first fifteen verses complaining about “foolish” and “wicked” people (verse 3). It’s evident that he’s more than a little fed up with the state of society, at least his corner of it. Then in verse sixteen, he has a semi-epiphany. He says “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me.” He continues on in verse twenty-one: “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.” This may sound odd, but the literal translation of “pricked in my reins” is pierced, or stabbed in my kidneys. That’s pretty serious. The Holy Spirit will wash us clean as we search out the impurities of sin and selfishness and forgive anyone involved, ourselves included. Forgiveness is what allows Him to flow again.

But if you’re pregnant, maybe you need to hold a little extra water? I mean, you’re carrying someone else around with you, so don’t worry about it. Water retention in that case is normal, expected even. And until your water breaks, just go with the flow.

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” (Galatians 4:19)