Live For a Thirsty World

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”   John 7:37-38

How is that going for you?  What kind of life are you living?

Many years ago when my sons were quite small, we were eating at a restaurant in Denver and the two older boys were acting up. My frustration level was inching upwards like a pot getting ready to boil.  Clinton, who was three years old at the time, needed to pee and so I asked Cole, who was seven, if he would take Clinton to the bathroom. A few minutes passed and Nette and I heard screaming so loud every head in the little restaurant turned towards the bathroom.  I had had enough.  My shame at being such a pitiful parent that his kids would be so unruly and my frustration at the bickering that happens between brothers at that age came to a point of explosion.  I jumped up and exploded into the bathroom where I saw Cole holding Clinton’s hands  under the running facet in the sink.  Clinton was screaming.  I was furious, grabbed Cole by the arm, jerked him away from Clinton, swatted his bum, and chewed him out.

Through sobs Cole said, “But daddy I told Clint to wash his hands after he peed and he accidentally turned on the hot water and burned his hands. I was putting them under cold water when you came in.”

Cole and Clinton

Cole and Clinton

I felt as low as whale dung.  What was going on in my life that would let frustration build up causing me to be more concerned with peace and quiet and to rush to judgment? That bothered me for days (and bothers me right now).  It caused some real introspection on my part and I remember thinking, Why would anyone want to be a Christ follower if they made their determination by watching me with my boys?

Is the life I am inviting other people to live, the life I am living myself?

Lots of folks in the church are just as anxious, angry, driven, unsettled, exhausted, and envious as everybody else in our culture….why…because we have settled for identity markers (baptism, church attendance, said a “sinners”prayer, vote conservative, dress a certain way, listen to certain music, etc.) rather than the Gospel that changes lives!

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”   John 7:37-38

Last summer when I was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail one thing that surprised me was how scarce the water was on the trail.  In August there were several weeks where temperatures averaged in the 90s and sometimes there would be 20 miles between potable water.  One day around Mount Theilsen, it was one of those white hot days.  I was out of water and had been for five miles.  My mouth was so dry that my lips were cracking and my tongue was beginning to swell. There was nothing to do but to keep walking because the map said there was a creek ahead.

Theilsen Creek

Theilsen Creek

Sometimes the maps would say “seasonal stream.”  That meant it would be a dry creek bed because it only flowed in wet seasons.  I crossed many of those that day.  As I circumvented Mount Theilsen and rounded a turn in the trail, stretching out before me was this beautiful bubbling stream.  It flowed from way up on the shoulders of the mountain down a lush green valley, and tumbled past me into the forest.

I smiled and felt my pace quickened; I hurried to the bank of the stream, took my pack off, and sat there for a moment just savoring the sound of tumbling water. Then I scooped up a cup full in my hand and let it tingle and moisten my mouth before I swallowed it.  Then I got on my belly and sipped some from the rushing water.  It was so cold it gave me a headache, but I drank on.  Then I stuck my head in it.  Nothing on the trail that summer brought me such untrammeled joy as that cool stream on the side of that mountain.

Cooling the dogs in Theilsen Creek

Cooling the dogs in Theilsen Creek

I rested beside that stream

I soaked my aching and burning feet in that stream.

I laughed beside that stream

I fellowshipped with other hikers that stopped at the stream

I ate lunch beside that stream

I prayed beside that stream

I sang beside that stream

I felt safe and fully alive beside that stream

I quoted scripture beside that stream, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul after you, O my God.”

A river runs through all of Scripture “There is a river whose streams made glad the city of God.”  Psalms 46:4

What if Jesus was right and a life-giving force could flow from us that could change the world?  How do I stay in the flow?

What if every time when you touch water tomorrow you let it remind you to pray,  “God, let your Kingdom come in me today.  Let the river flow.” All day long.  From one meeting to the next.  From one moment to the next.

There was time when a people started to do this…

Tell them to be quiet and they would shout the louder

Throw them into prison and they convert the jailer.

Whip them and they sang hymns.

Starve them and they shared what little they had with less fortunate.

Persecute them and it would fill them with joy.

Hate them and they would love you back

Exclude them and they would invite you in.

Kill them and 100 would rise up and take their place.

How do you stop a people like this? It happened once—it can happen again.

About Joe Chambers

I am the beloved of the Most High God. I am an avid reader and writer and have been a continuous learner since my college studies in Ancient Literature and English. I live at the base of Mount Princeton in the Colorado Rockies with my wife of over three decades. I believe I have been put here to tell people that God is not mad at them and to show them the way Home. I am the father of three sons, three beautiful daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. I love to read, tell stories, and spend time in the wilderness.
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2 Responses to Live For a Thirsty World

  1. Robbie Boyd says:

    Am I supposed to be writing questions for these essays?


    Sent from my iPad


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