Water of Life


Water of Life

“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.’”- John 7:37-38

“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 4:14

Sometimes you go to the zoo, or you’re working in the yard, or just somewhere dry and hot, and you forget to drink any water. You don’t realize how parched you are until you get home, pour yourself a huge quart sized mason jar full of water, ignore what spilled on the counter, and drink the entire thing at one go. That sensation of life is unspeakable and you seem to feel it revive every part of you. Only then do you realize the dryness of where you’ve been and how thirsty you were. And maybe only then do you fully feel the powererful “life-givingness” of water.

Last June our family traveled to Barcelona to prepare for long-term ministry there. We went to pray through the city, seeking the Lord’s direction on so many things, and to grow in vision for the work He has. We talked a ton about strategy, details, locations, etc., which is all good and necessary. But the first night after we arrived home from Spain, we rejoined our church for a time of worship and prayer. Only then did I truly realize the spiritual desert we had been in.

Sitting in that room of people adoring our Father together through music, encouraging and lifting one another up through prayer, basking in the presence of the Lord amongst His people, I had an overwhelming sense of water. I just kept thinking, as I sat in a room full of near palpable lush, vivid, fervent, joyous LIFE, that this is what we are sent with. We don’t just bring knowledge of God, or ways of understanding, or truth propositions, but we bring the message and power of the Spirit of the Living God who comes and moves like water on dry land. What an amazing call to be mere drops in the flood of God’s Spirit!

Something moved in me that night that hadn’t before. Many years ago, and for many years, I was a worship leader. But for various reasons, I laid that down. Largely I didn’t truly understand the life giving force, the water, that true worship, along with prayer, could be. It had become dry and too much about performance for me. It felt empty and unnecessary. “Can’t we follow Jesus without all this?”

Seeds need water to sprout. Flour, salt, and yeast are just dust without water to activate and enliven them to become bread. Ministry is mere talking and striving without the fervent, live-giving water of worship and prayer. There are surely times when music is mere music, and what we call “worship” becomes just a routine. But our God has called His people to make a joyful noise, to sing His praises to the nations, and to delight and enjoy and encounter Him through prayer and through song. He has called us to be both receivers and sources of the rivers of living water.

There are so many metaphors we could use and explore, but we are convinced that if we are to truly minister to a parched, dying world, we must do so with prayer on our lips, and a song in our throats through which, out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water. These past months have brought us to pursue prayer and worship as foundational to our life in Jesus and to our ministry. For me this means dusting off a long-forsaken role as a leader of, not just music, but worship. I’m excited to take back up the musical, prayerful expression of worship and see the Lord use it as warfare against the darkness, and life-giving water in a dry and weary land.

Derek JenkinsComment