Staying Under to Stay Full

Back to the image of the river again. The picture in Ezekiel 47 reminds me of what Matthew shared with us on Sunday: the difference between the baptism in water and the baptism in the Spirit.

When we are baptised in water we come up again straight away, but when we are baptised in the Spirit we are meant to stay under forever!

We often think of being filled with the Spirit, like taking our cup back to God for him to turn on his "tap" and replenish us. But I think a far more scriptural image, certainly post-pentecost, is to think of it like Ezekiel in chapter 47, being immersed in the river that is the Spirit. This fits both with the concept of "baptism", and the reoccurring New Testament phrasiology of being "In the Spirit". We thus should not ask "have you been baptised in the Holy Spirit", but "are you baptised in the Holy Spirit". It is a lasting position we are meant to live in, not a one-off experience so we can tick the box "Charismatic"!

It's not about trying to get more of the Spirit into us, but like Ezekiel, getting more of us into the Spirit. It's no problem to stay full if you stay in the river.

As I have said in a previous post it is also interesting to note what Jesus says in John 7: "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." It's not a picture of a vessel filled from on high, but of a well springing forth from within. The Holy Spirit, the river we need to get into, is already inside us! We just need to make sure that our well is not blocked, and we do not inhibit his "gushing forth" in our lives.

If this concept of staying in the river, to keep the river within us flowing seems a strange mix of "who's inside who?" compare it with what Jesus says in John 15:4:

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you."


Roger Aubrey said...

Absolutely right, Chris. We're not meant to keep coming back to top up the cup. We have to learn to keep the rivers of living water flowing from within. It's like being in the river you can't cross and that you have to swim in. Too many paddlers around.

KevC said...

As a very poor swimmer Chris, paddling in deep rivers is not really an option, but this is one river I'm gladly drowning in!

BTW Happy Birthday Roger!