John 7:37,38 ¶ Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”
I had only been in ministry sixteen years, it felt more like sixty. I had been running on empty for awhile trying to pretend that everything was good. All the emphasis on the ‘ministry of excellence’ in the eighties had taken its toll on me, I felt like excellent was a long way from where I was and pretending was wearing thin. I didn’t really have a handle on what was wrong; like everyone else I was blaming everyone else. “It must be these horrible people”, or “it must be this horrible city”. Maybe it was my staff’s fault or possibly lazy leaders in the church. At the end of my drama I came to a very painful conclusion; I was the problem. Some how I had turned my ‘engine’ to automatic and had forgotten how to receive. I guess you could say I had become religious. We weren’t old fashioned by any stretch. You can be religious and trendy as well as religious and old fashioned. What was the solution? Actually it’s right there in today’s scripture verse. Drinking. In this verse Jesus is describing a new way of life. He is describing not a one time event, but as John points out, He is talking about the coming of the Holy Spirit. He is talking about a continual immersion or baptism into the Holy Spirit.
What needed to happen in my life? I needed to learn how to receive from God; I needed, as Jesus said, to learn how to drink. The ironic thing about all this is that it is the ‘drinking’ aspect of Christianity that is the most pleasurable. What is this drinking? It is multiple ways of receiving impartation from the Lord. Here are some of my favorites:
1 Praying in my heavenly language. The basic function of this gift from God is devotional, As I pray in other tongues I become more aware of the spiritual realm, my faith is built, and I become empowered for whatever I may face.
2 Worship. I call worship the act of enjoying God. This is the place of pleasure, it is the fun part of our Christian faith. It’s not enjoyable because we like music, it is enjoyable because when we glorify the Lord His presence comes down. This place of joy brings us to the place of healing, deliverance, empowerment, and revelation.
3 Reading the Bible. God speaks through His written word. As we soak in His word, our mind is cleansed, our spirit is renewed, and we are empowered for His work.
4 Listening to the preaching and teaching of God’s word. There is an anointing when anointed people preach Christ. This is one of the greatest places to receive. This is more than just instruction, this is divine impartation.
5 Laying on of hands. This is one of the basic doctrines of the church. Again, anointed people impart what they have. Like Peter said ‘silver and gold have I none, but that which I have I give to you’.
So there you have it, just go ahead and have another drink. It will be good for your soul.