The book of Acts in the New Testament is commonly referred to as the Acts of the Apostles. It’s the story of the amazing deeds of those first disciples, how they put God’s Word into action. But a closer reading of the text reveals a deeper story. It’s really the tale of the amazing deeds of the Holy Spirit, calling those early disciples out into something bigger than they could have imagined. The book should perhaps be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus hinted at the same idea in John 8: 37-38: “If any of you is thirsty, come to Me and drink. If you believe in Me, the Hebrew Scriptures say that rivers of living water will flow from with you.” Our first work is to come to Jesus and drink from the fresh water gushing forth from Him. But the promise is not just that our thirst will be slaked; it’s that water of life will rise to the brim and gush out of ourselves onto the lives of those around us. John explains this running over as the Holy Spirit at work (vs. 39).
But first we have to come and drink.
And then keep drinking.
What Jesus articulates here is found strewn throughout the Old Testament. The first work of God’s people was to come to him and rest, but they were often too busy, forgetting God and becoming self-reliant. Listen to the Lord’s frustration over this in Isaiah: “In returning and rest, you will be saved. In quietness and trust you will find strength. But you refused. You couldn’t sit still” (3:15-16, The Voice). We are so much like those Israelites, too busy to drink from the fountain, too intent on getting the day’s tasks done, even good tasks for God. We can’t sit still.
But what does it look like to sit quietly and drink?
Recently, I gathered a few men to begin the adventure of drinking from Jesus together. After sharing our hearts, we each journaled about our struggles and wrote out responses to Psalm 23. I wanted them to drink from Jesus, but would He show up? As we shared our journals with each other, one man confessed his relentless busyness and deadness of heart. The call in the psalm to allow the Lord to lead him beside quiet pasture and still water struck him deeply. Another man who was initially fearful of journaling found the freedom to write out his thoughts in verse and rhyme like a song. In this simple act, something was released in his heart. A third man, going through a deep valley of privation, was stopped in his tracks after reading the first verse, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” We all walked out feeling as if we had been drinking from that living spring.
My hunch is that these men lived that day out of an overflow, ready to follow God in His work.
I know I certainly was.
Thank you, Jesus for being that spring of water, for the torrents of life and grace that gush forth from You, for always offering more than we could ever receive. You want to exchange our emptiness for Your fullness. We are humbled and overwhelmed at Your passion for our well-being. Teach us to drink until we overflow, and then to keep drinking. We always run dry. You never stop gushing forth. Thank you for all You will do in us and through us for Your kingdom and glory.