There are quite a few things that have me thinking these days. At first glance they seem like odds and ends that are not connected, but I am beginning to think they truly are connected. What is it that connects living water, Iraq, and Robin Williams? Community.
On Sunday one of our Pastors spoke about living water. I am sure that there was a lot more to be gleaned from the sermon than what I gleaned from it, but this is what I walked away with: Christ is living water. When I am filled with Christ, His life flows out of me into the lives of others and this is the living water. Living water is refreshing, pure, and it brings life. If I am not filled with Christ and drawing from His living water, then whatever it is that I am filled with is what flows out of me. If what I am filled with is something like sin or muddy water, then that is what I am pouring into the lives of others.
The sermon reminded me that our lives touch the lives of others. We are given an opportunity with every person we encounter, even if it is only a brief encounter. We have an opportunity to refresh them or to contaminate them. It's easy to think of ourselves as individuals and to forget that are lives touch the lives of others. We are a part of a community. Schools, churches, towns, and cities are all communities. One of the definitions of a community is " a society at large". If this is the case, then our world is a community.
With everything that is going on in the world today I have to wonder, how much do we care about this community? It's easy to look at the problems of the world and feel overwhelmed. It's easy to think that anything that we could say or do to help would just be insignificant in light of the world's problems...but is that true? If you and I believe in Christ and are filled with His living water, wouldn't pouring it out make a difference? Do you think that if we shared this living water with just one person, it would change the world? What if someone had shared Christ, the Living Water with Robin Williams? Would he have been set free from all the chains that bound him? Would he have been filled with the joy of the Living God who loved him rather than the depths of despair from the pit of hell? Would he be here with us today, alive? If sharing this living water would refresh just one more soul and free just one more captive, then what do you think it would do for the Islamic Extremists and those they persecute in Iraq? Could God use His life flowing out of us who belong to Him, to change a nation? Could He use His life flowing out of us to bring Islamic Extremists to their knees in repentance and end the persecution of thousands of our fellow Christians? I believe He can. All we have to do is ask.
I think it's time to stop reading the headlines and feeling overwhelmed or disconnected. Instead, I plan to take the headlines to God in prayer and ask Him to show me how I can pour out this living water that He has poured into me. I know for certain that one way He can do this is through prayer. Prayer changes things. I may not be able to travel to Iraq but I can pray for Iraq and its people faithfully. I may not be able to do anything for Robin Williams right now, but I can pray for his family. I can also ask God to use me to share His love and His life with others who struggle with depression. Not everyone thinks of prayer as a way of taking action. There are people that look at prayer as if it is a passive, easy way out of doing something more substantial. For those who may think this way I would like to share some thoughts from S. D. Gordon's book Quiet Talks on Prayer: "The power loosened through prayer is tremendous and may not touch just one spot but wherever in the whole round world you may choose to turn it. Our prayer is God's opportunity to get into the world that would shut Him out. Prayer puts us into direct dynamic touch with the world. We can do nothing of real power until we have done the prayer thing."
We live in a community called the world. True, it's a huge community with more problems than we can number, but it's our community and we can change it one person at a time. All we need is Christ the Living Water flowing through us into the lives of others. If we ask Him He will show us with each person we come into contact, what that looks like. We have to ask first... and asking requires prayer. Prayer is the beginning of unleashing the rivers of living water and as the Pastor put it this Sunday, "changing the landscape" of our community...our world.