living on overflow

It stands as the center of our compound.

This metal tube thrust deep into the unseen ground below our feet. Its arm ever being pumped for precious life-giving liquid coming from the deep places beneath.   I stand and watch our children drink and play and splash in its cool wetness.  Draw from its depths to wash clothes, bathe bodies, quench their thirst.

The sun beats down, a slight breeze blows more like a convection oven giving rise to salty rivulets running down my back.  The red bottle brush trees are in full bloom so we know the rains are not far away and the cooler air that comes with them.  But standing in the mid-afternoon heat today, you would never guess that.  Unless you knew the signs of the seasons here.  How many months to harvest and what of the seasons of heaven?

The water from deep in the heart of the earth runs cool even when everything else cooks above.  Maybe that is why I need to draw water deep from the heart of God and not become content in the shallow places that really don’t quench much of anything.  Perhaps it is only the deep places of His river that will satisfy the empty depths in me.

Have you ever noticed it is impossible to give something away unless you first have a measure of it yourself?  I cannot give what I do not have.  I cannot impart what is not a part of me. I know this, I feel it more now than ever.

Remember Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles?  Everyone wants to kill Him.  So He sneaks in.  But then He stands in the middle of everything and starts to teach, bold, without apology, right in the middle of some who were clamoring already for His life.  Who does this?  Perhaps someone who knows the Source of their life.

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” – John 7:37-39

I cannot give what I do not have.  If I am learning anything on this dusty unpaved road here in the newest nation of Africa, it is this.  I must drink and drink deep of Him in order to have any life in me to give.  I must not run from my thirst. I must not run from my need.  I cannot bury it in activity or seek to satisfy it with outward success.  What is the success that really lasts and matters anyway?  There is only one thing to do with my thirst.  Come and bring it with me to Him.  Let it pull me into the depths of Who He is.  That I may drink and overflow. 

Living from the place of overflow is the only way to truly live. All else is dry emptiness that has nothing of real life in it to give. But first, above all, I must stop running away from my thirst, and my heart with it.

Why is it so often I run away from the very thing that is supposed to bring me closer to His love, to the deep wells of His Presence?  A dry sponge is a very ineffective sponge.  A dry sponge in denial is even worse. We were created to live on overflow everyday.

In this as in so much else, my children have it down.  The well is the center of our family life.  Right in the middle of the hard work of their play they stop and bring their thirst to the well.  They pause, bow low and put their mouth right under the deluge to receive all that they need.  Oh that I might take all my dehydrated places and do likewise.  

Stop.  Return to the center.  Bring my thirst to Him. Bow low, position my heart under the waterfall of His grace and drink and drink again that I might live from the overflow of His Spirit and not the emptiness of my self-effort.  THIS is LIFE and Life more abundantly.  This living on overflow.

How about you my friend?  Do you run from your thirst?  Or do you let it draw back to the only One Who can ever truly satisfy it?  So great is His loving extravagance that He doesn’t just want to quench our thirst itself, He wants to transform our thirst into a river that never runs dry.

Selah.  Come often.  Drink deep.  Splash freely.  Flow over.  Spill life.

We pause and remember and offer our deepest gratitude to God as we celebrate this World Water Day when so  many around us in this region have no access to life-giving clean water.  Thank you for your love and support that allows our children to experience the goodness of God with every drink they take.

A well here costs around $12,000 US to put in.  Our children are very wealthy indeed.  And thanks to the generous support of one of our partner churches in the US, we were just able to put in a well for our immediate community.  But there are still thousands of people who draw their water from disease ridden, filthy mud holes and contaminated water sources.  We are always looking for opportunities to share the gift of living water with the communities we serve.  Please contact me if you’d like more information on how you might be a part of helping us do this.  And as always, we give thanks for the deep wells of your love and prayers!