When you start quoting the Bible, people stop listening.
I’ve noticed this, of course, in ordinary conversation with people when talking about spiritual things. Many people like to talk about their spiritual experiences, conversations with God, and visions they’ve had from Him. But when I start to quote Scripture, then conversation seems to take a different turn. It’s all fine and dandy when they can control their conversation with God, but when God’s authoritative Word comes into play, they have nothing else they want to talk about.
But coming across this gem this morning, I hadn’t notice before what Jesus is talking about. He doesn’t quote from a single Scripture, but the message of several scriptures:
The LORD will continually lead you; he will feed you even in parched regions. He will give you renewed strength, and you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring that continually produces water.
Moreover, on that day living waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea; it will happen both in summer and in winter.
He will pour the water out of his buckets, and their descendants will be like abundant water; their king will be greater than Agag, and their kingdom will be exalted.
The closest is Isaiah, but the others point to it. In essence, being a follower of Christ (and God) will allow you to both be filled with His life-giving water (remember that the Middle East is often a parched land, so water was an important resource) but also be a conduit for such water for others.
What’s more important is how Jesus frames this quote. He doesn’t apply it to a single prophet, but to the whole of Scripture. It is as if all of Scripture were designed for this purpose: to fill people up with the presence of God! It isn’t the message of one or two prophets, but of the whole of the 39 books of the Old Testament Scripture, and by implication, the remaining 27 to be written in the New.
So if you need a lift today, a filling, might I suggest that instead of waiting on God to “send you a word” or a “dream”, pick up a Bible. Many people who cry out to the heavens for a word from God ignore the Bible sitting at their elbow. If the whole book seems overwhelming to you, and you don’t know where to start, start here. Start in John. Read through it. The whole Bible is designed to fill you, so start here. Don’t demand that God answer your questions. That is futile. But listen for God’s voice. As you begin to take the words of Scripture into yourself, you will become more familiar with it, and will know when He is speaking. Tune out the other voices in your world, just for a time, so that you can focus your attention. He will speak to you.
Dear God, I have let so many other voices speak into my life, but I have neglected the One that matters most. Please forgive me this indiscretion and help me focus again on the Voice that made me, loves me, and died for me so that I could live. Help me listen again to Your voice so that my paths will be made straight. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.