8. The Water of Life
Jesus said that if we drink of Him, the water of life would well up inside of us as a gushing spring of water resulting in unending LIFE. Jesus said that if we drink of Him, rivers of living water, the river of life itself from the throne of God, would flow out of our bellies, out of our hearts, our innermost beings, bringing life and healing to all whom we pass by – the physical earth, other people, and all creation. Paul said that the same resurrection Spirit of life that resurrected the dead body of Jesus is right now imparting that same life to our dying physical bodies. Is this real?
8. The Water of Life
God gave man a commission in the day in which he was created. That commission was to subdue the earth. God gave man this commission before He created the garden, before He placed the two trees before Adam, before the serpent or sin or death had yet entered the picture.
To subdue the earth is a holy, divine, poured-out love commission. We dare not look at any activity of man upon this earth since the fall, save Jesus, to attempt to define what it means to subdue the earth.
I took my kids to watch the fourth Pirates movie the other day. The story-line was poor, and no, God did not speak to me through the story. Rather, He spoke to me through the challenge a couple of factors in the story raised against the truth. Those two things have everything to do with understanding God’s purpose for us in the earth.
First, by finding myself so often focused on the first three chapters of Genesis, I am in no way being sidetracked from Christ our life or from the New Covenant in His blood. As I have shown before, the three things placed before Adam are fully the New Covenant and are completely absent from the Law of Moses. Let me list them again.
1. Subdue the earth.
2. Of the (tree of life) you may freely eat.
3. Do not eat of the knowledge of good and evil.
God chose to include Adam in the formation of himself as a son of God. God first formed Adam’s physical body out of the earth, then He breathed Spirit into that body of dirt. Thus Adam became a perfect union of heaven and earth. However, Adam was not complete.
First, Adam was alone; God deliberately created Adam in a “not good” state. Then, once Adam knew thoroughly his “aloneness,” God put him into a deep sleep and drew his wife out of his side. Finally, God allowed the serpent to place Adam’s woman into jeopardy. Up until this moment, all of it is God’s intention.
Look closely at that moment after Eve has eaten of the fruit. She has reached out and offered it to Adam, but Adam has not yet moved.
It is for that moment that God created Adam, His image, and given him the task to subdue the earth. This is the moment of God’s design. Nothing is out of place, or outside of God’s deliberate intention. Sin has not entered the picture; neither is Adam being “tempted.” God does not tempt anyone with evil. Paul makes it very clear in Romans 5 that sin and death entered the world through Adam; Eve had nothing to do with it.
This is Adam’s moment to shine.
When you are running a race against great odds, and the winner, breaking every previous record crosses the finish line, is that not a glorious moment? And what made it glorious? Was it not the difficulty, and the possibility of losing? Jeopardy is not evil; it is the pre-requisite of glory.
God did Adam no wrong; He was offering Adam glory.
Adam is the image of God; he is formed after the pattern of Christ Himself, made in the likeness of God. But Adam is not finished. No robot can reveal God. Adam must enter into a union with God that together they might complete this daring and fantastic thing God has conceived in His determination – to make Himself known through man.
At this moment of time, as his lovely wife, the crowning glory of God’s creation, holds the fruit of knowledge out to Adam, Adam has already inside himself one half of the equation. He has the heart of God, a daring, bold, and determined heart. Adam is filled with a heart of faith.
But Adam is not complete. Yes, he walks in God’s Spirit, but he is missing the one ingredient that he must have in order actually to subdue the earth, in order to win, to redeem his bride, and to claim the prize of glory.
Adam needs LIFE!
God did not place life, incorruptible, divine life inside of Adam; He placed that life in a tree, set that tree before Adam, and invited Adam freely to eat, eat, eat of that Life. Then, having worked together with God and God with him in obtaining and partaking of Life, Adam would be able to turn and subdue the earth through the means God had intended him to use from the beginning, the river of life flowing out of his belly, out of his bold and daring heart.
Nothing inside this scenario has changed one iota for us right here and right now. God has not placed life in us, rather He placed LIFE inside His Son, and then He placed His Son inside of us. We don’t get LIFE apart from union!
Now here is the incredible thing about Pirates 4. These two things, a heart of daring boldness, faith — and the water of life, aqua de vida, are the central pivot of the movie. Of course, the movie makers got everything wrong, backwards, and upside down, but at least they did not make a full mockery of it, as I was concerned they would part way through. Yet it was by reflecting on how wrong they got it that I heard God speaking to me.
Let’s begin with the definition of faith. Faith is a heart of daring boldness. When Paul said that Christ lives in our hearts “by” faith, he meant that the daring boldness of God has taken up residence inside our hearts which IS faith. It is the faith of the Lord Jesus Himself, in Person, that fills our human hearts. There is no more bold or daring victorious Hero in the universe. Every hero in every story is just a replication of the great Hero of the universe.
The movie makers cast Jack Sparrow as the leading character in this fourth Pirates. As a counterpoint to the solid Will Turner in the first Pirate movie, Jack Sparrow was funny. As the lead character of the story he is a ridiculous caricature of everything a man is not. That is the primary reason why the fourth Pirates failed utterly as a “story.”
But here is the contradiction that I was afraid would turn into open mockery of Christianity, though it did not completely cross the line. At the center of the story were two men set in complete contrast to each other. One was a man of faith, filled with a heart of daring boldness, cast as the “unbeliever,” the other was a wimpish man filled with unbelief cast as “the man of faith,” yet containing inside himself not one ounce of faith — the missionary. In fact, as you reflect on the movie as a whole there was one solid character only in the entire movie, one real man who stood separate from all others — Blackbeard.
The world holds a terribly false image concerning “faith.” The “missionary” was presented as the “man of faith,” that is, a sniveling coward who fell for the first real temptation that came his way. Blackbeard was presented as the “real man” who “did not believe.” This is how faith is always treated in this world.
Blackbeard was the man of faith. His heart was filled with daring boldness. Yes, his heart was turned in the wrong direction. But, in spite of his sin, Blackbeard was more like God than any character in the movie. On the other hand, the missionary was a man who had no faith – except in that which was presented by the movie makers as a mockery of “faith,” when he returned to help the mermaid. But even that can be seen as Adam falling for the charms of Eve without obtaining the water of life that would have changed the world.
But the thing that struck me the most was near the end of the movie, when I saw the water of life (the fountain of youth – the aqua de vida) presented as something real and actual, something that really was water and really was LIFE.
And I realized in that instant that we Christians have always treated what God says about the water of life in the New Testament as being mythical, symbolical, and, in reality, fictitious.
But that is something I want to come back to in a bit. First, let’s look further at this heart of daring boldness. — God’s commission to man was spoken without thought of either sin or death.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28
It is upon this WORD that the Apostles hung the New Covenant.
The most frequently quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament is Psalm 110, the Psalm of the victorious Messiah, not Christ as the first witness, but Christ as the second witness. The line in that Psalm that is repeated over and over through the Gospel is this, “Until His enemies are made His footstool,” the exact same word as God spoke in the beginning, here in Genesis 1:28.
Now, the shallow reading of Genesis 1:28 concludes that God gave Adam the happy task of making babies. Without question, the purpose and being of life is to reproduce itself in a never ending creation of life in abundance.
But the truth is this. The full reality of what God spoke in Genesis 1:28, what God held fully in His own heart and mind and intention, was not known by Adam until that moment at which we see him, now, standing before his wife, she, offering the fruit of knowledge to him, he, not yet having moved.
It is that very moment for which God had created Adam. We know that in that moment, everything rested upon Adam. Adam had a choice; and the course and fate of all creation rested upon his choice. Would Adam turn, with the heart of Blackbeard, the heart of God that filled him, and seize hold of LIFE, no matter what it cost him? Or would Adam choose the wimpish way of the “missionary” in the story, the way of unbelief, and fall for that which could result only in unending pain and sorrow and death?
Without jeopardy there is no glory.
Now, here is what we do. At this moment in Adam’s reality, we refuse to view Adam any longer; rather, we turn instantly to the real Man, the only real Man ever to walk this earth. We see the One who faced the jeopardy and who seized the glory.
Let me bring in here the heart and meaning and intention and purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Hebrews 2:5-18
“What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:
…“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. …in all things He had to be made like His brethren… to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
The gospel and intent of God have nothing to do with going to heaven after we die; it has everything to do with subduing the earth, with defeating DEATH and the Lie, with bringing His enemies under His feet.
We see Adam for a brief moment, standing in the place of his glory as intended by God; and in that same brief moment, our eyes turn, and WE SEE JESUS, the only real Man ever to walk this earth.
But how do we see Him? We see Him filling our hearts. We see Him as the daring bravado of God, who is now the core and center of our own person, who will stop at nothing to win LIFE for His bride.
However, subduing the earth, defeating death and the Lie, bringing all enemies into subjection under His feet – these things are the negative side of the work of Christ. The real thing He does and is doing is to bring LIFE to His bride.
Now, when we look at Adam in the moment of his glory, instantly, in that same moment, we turn from Adam to see Jesus. We no longer consider the person, Adam; we do not know him. Yet that is not so with Eve.
Look at the bride of Christ across the earth. She is polluted. The seed of the enemy of Christ drips all over her. I am being graphic because it is graphic.
She is beloved of the Lord. She belongs to Him. He has seized hold of LIFE that He might redeem her and wash her clean, that He might have for Himself a pure Bride without spot or wrinkle.
But meanwhile two very false men stand before her, each claiming to represent Christ. We could even go so far as to say that they are Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa, each fake caricatures of “the man,” each using her for his own ends, each ready to abandon her the moment it is convenient. (And I am not recommending that you watch the movie; it had some interesting scenes, but it was rather poor.)
One of those men is the accuser, the other is the charmer. One points the finger at her shame, the other covers over her shame with a false covering.
I have less and less stomach for those ministries who have appointed themselves to exposing why this group of believers or that group of believers, or this person or that person who names the name of Jesus, for whatever reason, are false. I just read one vast argument that boiled down to this: those who say, “Jesus,” are anti-Christ (and damned in hellfire forever), while those who say, “Yeshua,” are the only true believers.
They fail to comprehend two things, one, that “Jesus” IS “Yeshua” in the English tongue, that’s how language works, and two, that Jesus is the living Savior, not some dead letters on paper. That’s why I run from any use of “Yeshua,” because the spirit behind it is that which denies that Christ comes in English flesh. No one ever called Him Yeshua anyway; his mother called Him Hoshea, Aramaic, and the Apostles penned Him Iosous, Greek. It’s called language.
But here’s the point. There was great glee inside this wondrous declaration of the falseness of so many, many people, who imagine that they love the Lord Jesus Christ, so many, many people who have paid a price to follow after Him, who believe that Jesus lives in their hearts, claiming that they are all “Anathema,” cut off from God, and not His woman at all – all because they start His name with the English hard “J” sound instead of the pan-European soft “Y” sound — “Jesus!”
The Bridegroom is never found in those who condemn the bride because she IS a prostitute.
Neither will I call “false” any individual or group of individuals who, in all the history of the church, have called themselves in some way by His name. I am certainly not smart enough to know which ones belong to Him and which do not. And the moment I create a definition by which I can now exclude anyone, by that same definition, I myself am also excluded, just as Jesus said.
But neither is the Bridegroom found in those who say, “Oh, no, don’t call her a prostitute, that isn’t nice. Just speak positive things about this world, send out good vibes, and everything will be wonderful.”
No. The Bridegroom is found in the hearts of those who, filled with the daring boldness of the heart of God, do not spare themselves any cost, but who seize hold of the LIFE that alone will redeem this one who is so very precious to Him, this one who came out of His side, the crowning glory of Himself.
Now, we KNOW where this life MUST come from.
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38
And instantly we hit the wall of fantasy, of mythology, and of gross unbelief.You see, the premise inside the movie was that this “water of life” was real and that it actually imparted everlasting life. And that’s all fine because everyone knows it’s a fantasy movie with made up-creatures as if they are real.
And thus the great contradiction between us and God is revealed. I have already quoted Jesus’ statement in John 7 just above. Here is what He said in John 4:14.
. . . whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.
But Paul’s statement in Romans 8:11 is the clincher.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
In fact, John 3:16 claims that anyone who believes in Jesus will live forever.
What hit me between the eyeballs as I saw the “water of life” in the movie was the realization, inside the definitions of the fantasy movie, that life was real. And I understood just as surely that I have always viewed these words of Jesus as myth along with all other Christians on this planet. But since we claim that we don’t believe that God is a liar, we have found the clever way to re-define water that imparts unending life by saying, “Oh, we still die, it’s not talking about not dying. It just means that we get to go to heaven AFTER we are executed by death.”
In other words, myth and fantasy, but we still get to call ourselves Christians.
Zero in on what God says in Romans 8:11. Out of everything God says in the Bible, this one verse makes Him or breaks Him.
God claims that His Spirit as the water of life is working right now inside our dying physical bodies imparting real life to them – and the only definition we have of real life is the resurrection life of Jesus’ body, just as God claims in this verse.
You and I look at our physical bodies. They are dying; they are weak and tired; what God says is to us nothing more than a myth. We do not know it at all.
But we cannot just conclude that God has lied so we invent a way to redefine “lying” and say, “Oh, it’s just a spiritual sort of life, something we will know after we go to heaven.” That allows us to continue on separate from faith and still call ourselves “believers.”
Faith is Blackbeard. Faith is that which grabs hold of LIFE with every particle of intensity inside of him.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
This is a fascinating statement of Paul to Timothy, one who has walked with God in ministry for years as a full recipient of the grace and salvation of God. Paul commands Timothy to fight the fight of faith and to lay hold of, that is, to seize, LIFE – the life of the age to come. How does that fit into any evangelical definition of the gospel?
Seize hold of LIFE with all the fight of faith!
Many will claim, “But I already possess all that is life.” Yet here’s the deal – they attend one another’s funerals.
Jesus said that if we drink of Him, the water of life, the fountain of youth, the aqua de vida, would well up inside of us as a gushing spring of water resulting in unending LIFE.
Jesus said that if we drink of Him, rivers of living water, the river of life itself from the throne of God, would flow out of our bellies, out of our hearts, our innermost beings, bringing life and healing to all whom we pass by – the physical earth, other people, and all creation.
Paul said that the same resurrection Spirit of life that resurrected the dead body of Jesus is right now imparting that same life to our dying physical bodies. Is this real? Or is there no God?
God will always bring things to all or nothing, never in-between, to hot or cold, never lukewarm, to God or Baal, never halting back and forth. He will do that for each one individually, as well as for all.
Let me share exactly where I am. I am weak and vacillating. I usually cave-in and give way. I go out of my way to avoid confrontation. My body is tired, and my heart is frightened of my inability to cope with overwhelming situations in the arena of life in this world.
That’s me. Yet Christ is in me as I am. When I once thought that I in my vacillating weakness was separate from God and “fleshy,” I could not stand. “I can’t handle this,” was a continual refrain played over and over in my mind.
Knowing that Christ conforms Himself to me in all that I am in my weakness is the first place in my life from which I can contemplate the possibility of strength. “Acting strong” can now be seen out of that union with Christ, the Great Hero of the Universe, who conforms Himself to me. Always before “acting strong” was acting, something I’m no good at.
(This is in complete contrast with my twenties and thirties when I believed I could do anything – and did a lot – in outward things. However, in social and “political” situations I have always been as I described.)
I oppose the militaries of this world, satanic religious cults all, and of killing people for whom Christ died as some sort of “solution” to human problems. Yet I am drawn to read war stories (pre-twentieth century) and war heroes, both real and fictitious. The stories of Genghis Khan, his brothers and sons, and his greatest general, Subodai, the greatest military commander of all time, fascinate me. My favorite series is of a soldier in the Napoleonic wars under Wellington, Richard Sharpe, a fictional creation of Bernard Cornwell. I have read the entire series through four times and will likely read them again.
Richard Sharpe is everything outwardly that I am not – a tough, vicious fighter at all times – yet gentle and kind when not facing an enemy.
Why do these stories fascinate me? A psychoanalyst would claim that I am “compensating” for my own weakness and vacillation. That could well be partly true, yet I think not the whole truth. For you see, these stories fascinate me out of the Spirit of Christ inside of me, not to condone or exalt killing, but somehow I am drawn to know and to reveal the true nature of faith.
Faith is a fight. Faith is that which does not settle for anything less than LIFE, unending, immortal, abundant life – all that Christ, the victorious defeater of death, IS.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the great Hero of God, the mightiest victorious Warrior in the universe. He climbed the tree of life to win the fruit of life FOR His Bride, that He might redeem her, that He might bring her to Himself without spot or wrinkle.
That same victorious Warrior and defeater of death, that same Fountain of eternal Life is my life; He sits upon the throne of my heart; and He reveals Himself in all that He is through me. LIFE!
Life is not some spiritual ideal, something we’ll know in heaven, but which remains “mythical” right now. Life is real and it shows itself by swallowing up all the death remaining in our bodies in defiance of Christ, and by flowing out from us as a river of life that is the glory of God covering this earth.
And faith is not that which “goes with the flow.” Faith seizes life with all intensity of passion and determination. And faith brings LIFE to those who, in this hour, so desperately need it, including ourselves.