The Soul Garden

Pastor Jerry Gillis - February 16, 2020

Community Group Study Notes

  • Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday‚Äôs teaching. 

  • What are some of the ways that we seek to address our spiritual thirst? Why does sin only leave us more thirsty and spiritually dehydrated? 

  • Read John 4:13-14 and John 7:37-38. What does Jesus offer that no one else can? If Jesus alone can quench our soul-thirst, why do we seek to find that satisfaction anywhere else? How have you seen this play out in your life? 

  • If your life was full of the living water that Jesus provides, what impact would that have on those around you? In your home? In your work or school? In your neighborhood? What difference does it make for the Gospel if you allowed the living water to flow through your life to others?  

  • What is one action step you will take in light of what we talked about? 


Sermon Transcript

Our bodies are made to thirst. All you have to do is look at a child when they're born. And one of the first things that they want is they want something to drink. They're looking for their mom to nurse there, and that's what they're looking for because the body is actually made to thirst. Even when we get older, we realize that drinking water is more important to us than food. Now, for some of you, you may debate that. I've seen some of you eat, actually. But the truth is that we can go sometimes a month, a month and a half, maybe even a little longer without food, but you can't do that without water.

You can go three days, six days, maybe eight days without water, but your organs begin to shut down. We're made that way and we're made as people who thirst. Have you ever been in a scenario where maybe you've done an activity or maybe you found yourself in a situation where you were extraordinarily thirsty? I'm not talking about just a regular after-some-exercise thirst. I'm talking about it was danger zone. You were in huge trouble. You needed something to drink, and if you didn't get it, if you didn't get some water inside of you, it was going to be trouble.

Maybe you've experienced that before. I have, actually a few times, but one of the most recent times, it was a couple of summers ago and my whole family, it was my wife and both sons. We were hiking in the Adirondacks. Now, we had decided on a particular mountain that we were going to climb and we decided on kind of a moderate, because, I mean, I've got two sons who are adventurous. They want to climb whatever, right? They want to climb to the moon. And then there's Edie and me, and we're a little older than we used to be. Not her, but me. I'm a little older than I used to be.

And so we're kind of saying, "Okay, maybe we should find something that's moderate. So we agreed on whatever we agreed on. We didn't know what we were picking, to be honest with you and ended up picking something really hard. And I did that accidentally. And so, we climbed this mountain or series of mountains and we summited and we brought all our gear. We had our backpacks and we had all loaded up on water. And I thought that I had plenty. I'd already downed like six bottles of water already because it was August, man, and it was hot.

I mean the further you got up, the cooler it got, but it was hot. You got me and I'm sweating. We get to the summit and we make a decision while we're up there that we're going to go down a different way than we came up. Here's what that's called, stupid. There's just not another word for it. Stupid idiots is what that... And it was mostly me. I'm like, "Well, this way is actually a little less troublesome for the knees and for the hips and all that stuff, because I don't know if you realize this, but when you get onto the top of a mountain, you have to come down, and it hurts more to come down than it does to go up, because it's bang, bang, and you're on these rocks.

Both of my sons kept saying, "You look like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz because you're just walking like down the... What's going on? We thought you broke your ankle 400 times." So they're mocking me. It's ridiculous. If you're a young person, stop making fun of your parents. It hurts us. I'm still in counseling for that right now. So we're coming and I realize when we get down to a certain place, I think we're close to the end and I read a sign, and we're not even close and I'm starting to panic because I'm out.

I have drank all of my water in my backpack, and everybody brought their own amounts for themselves. And I drank all of mine. I'm starting to feel like a panic and I sit down and I'm like, "Look, I'm in trouble here. I don't have any water." I've been sweating like a church member at offering time. And my wife doesn't seem to sweat as much. I sweat, she glistens. I look like somebody threw me in a well and she looks like Tinkerbell. She's just got a glisten to her. And so, I'm panicking because I'm out of water. I have nothing left to drink. Trace and Tanner are sweating and doing all that stuff. And Edie says, I've got a bottle can have," and I'm like, "You, you, I've always loved you."

I take that bottle, and I don't remember looking at the label, finding out where this water came from, what magic spring did this come from? Because when it touched my lips, it was the best water I've ever drank in my entire life. I mean, I'm hugging the bottle, I'm kissing the bottle, I'm drinking. I felt like Gollum. I'm like, "[inaudible 00:06:58]." I'm drinking this thing. It's unbelievable because I am dying of thirst, and I finally had something that helped me.

Now, if you have ever been in that spot before, you remember it just like I remembered this. Israel remembered too. You see, they actually had an entire festival that was set up to remember when they were parched in a barren land and God provided for them. It was called the Feast of Tabernacles. It was a fall feast. Some people call it the Feast of Booths or Sukkot, which is the formal name for it. But it was basically a commemoration of when Israel was in the wilderness after they had gotten out, the Exodus of Egypt, and now they were in a wilderness and they didn't have anything to provide for them. There wasn't a lot of water that was there, and God miraculously provided for them.

Part of the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles was that they would commemorate this time where God provided water for them in their time of incredible thirst. And so, going along with the idea of that, they built the booths, they built these little tabernacles and set them up all over Jerusalem to commemorate the time where the people were going through the wilderness and had to live in those kinds of dwellings. And then there would also be some things around fire and light for the temple in Jerusalem where they would light it up.

But even at the time of Jesus, there would be another commemoration that would happen during the time of this festival. And the festival lasted for eight days. Seven of those eight days, there would be a priest who would be coming from the temple and he would have with him, every morning of this festival, he would have with him a golden pitcher. He would take that golden pitcher and he would begin to march to the Pool of Siloam. It wasn't too far away. And all the people would gather early in the morning and they would begin singing the Hallel Psalms, the Psalm 113 through 118 in that neighborhood, psalms of praise, hallelujahs to God.

Then they would also sing something else. When the priest would come to the Pool of Siloam, he was taking this pitcher and he was dipping it in and filling it up, and then he would take this back to the temple and pour it on the altar. But while he was doing that, when he was taking that pitcher and he was filling it up, they would be singing and praying the words of Isaiah chapter 12 that said this, "With joy, you will draw water from the wells of salvation." This is what they would be praying. This is what they would be singing as they did this every day of the festival on the first seven days of the festival.

Interestingly enough, Jesus was there at one of these festivals. We're going to see it in just a moment when we get to John chapter 7. Jesus was there at the time of this festival in Jerusalem when he was doing his ministry talking about the kingdom of God. And while he was there, unsure that he watched every single day as the priest would come out of the temple and the people would gather around and start to sing praises to God and he would make his way with the golden pitcher and go to the Pool of Siloam and dip it in there, and they would pray and sing Isaiah chapter 12. With joy you are dipping into or taking from or drinking from the well of salvation.

Every day, this happened, day one, day two, day three, day four, day five, day six, day seven. Then on the very last day of the feast, that's not what the priest did. They didn't do anything. It was over. It was on that day that Jesus said something stunning. It's in John chapter 7, beginning of verse 37. It says this. "On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this, he meant the Spirit whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time, the Spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified."

This is an interesting thing, isn't it, that Jesus, when the time of the priests in dipping the golden pitcher into the Pool of Siloam is over, where there was a lot of activity and a lot of singing, Jesus enters into what was a vacancy of that, likely in a morning on the last and greatest day of the festival. And in a loud voice, he doesn't sing, but he makes a statement. "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink." Jesus was saying to everyone there that all of this festival was pointing to him, that everything that they had been celebrating, everything that they had been hoping for now could be found in his person. And he says, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink."

Jesus announces that he is the fulfillment of the festival. Startling. If you don't read it in context, you may not see that. But once you see it, you go like, "Whew, this is a big statement that Jesus just made." Now, it's two-fold statement, right? He talks about come to me and drink, and then he says, "When you do, rivers of water will flow from your life." It's a two-fold statement that Jesus makes that is both interdependent and distinct. And what I want to do is I want to pull those two apart for us today, and I want us to take a look at them, to examine them, but I want them to speak to us.

I don't want to just speak about them. I want them to be spoken to us. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to frame them in a statement that's aimed to us. We're going to let the words of Jesus actually speak to us. We're not just going to read the words of Jesus to them. We're going to let the words of Jesus speak to us. And if I were going to do that, maybe the first way I would say it is this very simply. If you are thirsty, come to Jesus, as I drink my water. If you are thirsty, come to Jesus.

Notice again what he said in verse 37. "On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink." You see, much like Jesus did, just a few chapters before in chapter four when he talked to the woman, the Samaritan woman at the well and told her when she was going to get water, he said, "I can actually satisfy that thirst." You can find some living water. Just like he told her that, that he could satisfy her thirst, now he tells all of those people at the festival that this entire festival has been pointing to him ultimately, and that if you come to him, you can have your thirst quenched.

See, here's why. Because Jesus knew something profound about the human condition. Listen to this. Jesus knew that sin makes us spiritually thirsty. He knew this. And so, when he says what he says, "Come to me all you who are thirsty and drink," Jesus knew that he was helping to meet the greatest need that these people had, because he knew that what sin does is it dehydrates the soul. Sin makes us spiritually thirsty. And what Jesus was saying is that he was the one who could satisfy that thirst, that he was the answer to Isaiah's prayer to come to with joy, the well of salvation and drink. Jesus was helping them see that.

So if we were looking at this idea of coming to Jesus if we're thirsty, there's a reason for that. Here's why. Here's the first reason, because Jesus is the well of salvation. I'm drawing this, forgive the language there drawing, I'm drawing this from Isaiah, from what they actually sang at this particular festival, that Jesus himself is the well of salvation. Now, it shouldn't shock us, should it, that water plays a significant role in the life of the Bible and in the writings of the Hebrew scripture. I certainly can't exhaust talking about all of those places where water is so significantly present in the Hebrew scripture.

But if we go back to the very beginning, we see water from the outset, that it's talked about and that it's included in what God does. Remember in the creation narrative of Genesis chapter 1, it says in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was formless and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Right when we open the Bible, we see the Spirit of God hovering over the waters. And it's interesting that the Spirit is pictured like water in the context of scripture itself.

But when we moved from Genesis 1 to Genesis chapter 2, we see something very, very interesting. Here's what it says. A river watering the garden flowed from Eden, and from there it was separated into four headwaters. You see, the picture of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 is a picture of God creating this cosmic temple for His dwelling place. The throne room, so to speak, of that dwelling place is Eden. And so, from the throne room of this cosmic temple that God has made for His dwelling flows a river. I don't want you to miss that because I'm going to come back to it later. There is a river of living water flowing from the temple.

This is what we're introduced to, right in the very beginnings of scripture. But we know what happened, right? We know that Adam and Eve were called to tend to the ground, and to garden, and to maybe even theoretically extend the garden as far as the river would go in its forehead waters, but they sinned. They walked independently from God instead of being dependent upon God, and as a result, the consequence of their sin was that they were cast out of the garden. You remember that two angels were posted there with flaming swords to keep people from coming back in.

Then when we begin to unpack the scriptures, we see the chronicles of rebellion. We see how sin continues to degrade humanity, whether its Cain killing Abel, or whether it's the flood of Noah, or whether it's the Tower of Babel, or as we continue to read, everything else that happens in the Old Testament. We see the effects and the consequences of sin and how it has impregnated itself in every human being and is giving full blossom in so many different ways. Yet what humanity continues to do, in the midst of their thirst, is to try and satisfy that thirst with other things, other things.

It prompted God to speak to Jeremiah when he was rebuking the people of Israel, and He said this in Jeremiah chapter 2, "Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror, declares the Lord. My people have committed two sins. They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." We have rejected, listen to this, we've rejected the source of the living water and have now built for ourselves broken cisterns. Why? Because we're broken people. Broken people make broken things to try and satisfy their brokenness and it doesn't work.

So what we find ourselves doing is trying to satisfy this thirst that sin has brought. We try and satisfy it with building our own ways to try and lap up the water that we think will satisfy it. And we make our cisterns. We make our vessels as pretty as we can. I don't know what your vessel might look like, but you've created it. And sometimes, some way in your past, have tried to fill it and it's broken, and there's no water in it and you're still thirsty.

This is what sin does to us. Jesus knew this. Sin makes us spiritually thirsty. We were helpless to be able to hydrate our souls, and so God in His great love and His great mercy sent His son to come and live among us, born of a virgin. He was the word from the very beginning. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, made his tabernacle among us literally. And we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of God, full of grace and truth.

Jesus comes to tabernacle with his people, why? Because his people are so thirsty. He comes and he lives among us, and he recognizes that the only way to save us from the dehydration of the soul is to take upon himself the full weight of sin's consequence, to drink down to the uttermost, the sin that we have borne, and he drinks the cup of the wrath of God. He drinks down all of our sin. And do you know what it does to Jesus when he's on the cross? John tells us in John chapter 19. Jesus says, "I am thirsty."

Why does he say that? Surely it's in part because physically he has lost a lot of blood. He is dehydrated and he is experiencing the natural physical thirst that he would be experiencing through crucifixion. But Jesus is actually saying something that is significantly bigger than that because he has taken upon himself our sin-sick, dehydrated souls, and Jesus feels everything about what it feels like to be separated from God and turn from the living fountain. And he says, "I am thirsty."

Jesus who knew no sin became sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. We could say it this way. Listen, Jesus who knew what it was like to be satisfied by the living fountain of the Father allowed himself to be cut off and spiritually dehydrated so that we could come to him and drink freely. This is the beauty of the gospel read right into this context. And when Jesus said, "I am thirsty," not only was he fulfilling Psalm 69, but he was also fully identifying with us.

As he died on our behalf for our spiritually thirsty, dehydrated, sin-sick souls, he died fully dead on a cross. What did the Roman guards do? They came to make sure he was dead, and instead of breaking his legs, which they normally did, they did not do that. What did they do? Listen to what it says in John 19, "When they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they didn't break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear bringing a sudden flow of blood and water."

The blood was to remind us that there is only forgiveness in the shedding of blood, the water to remind us that when we come to him through his blood, he gives us a promise that his spirit will fill us. When we come to him, he will satisfy us. I hope you're getting this because it's all up in my business. I'll be honest with you. I'm just telling you the truth right now. I'm a few times zones off because of where I've been ministering. I'm a lot of times zones off. You're going to get both barrels.

My wife says, "When you're tired, I don't ever know what's coming out of your mouth." I pray that what comes out of my mouth is what the Spirit of God wants to say.


So if you are thirsty, come to Jesus. Why? Because he's the well of salvation. There is no other way. But I'll tell you why else, because he's the well of satisfaction. You see, when Jesus said, "Let anyone who's thirsty come to me and drink, he was talking not only about salvation. He certainly was. He was certainly talking about salvation, but he was also talking about satisfaction, that we can only find our satisfaction in him. Certainly, we can only find our salvation in him, but we can only find our satisfaction in him. And he says, "Come to me and drink.

How do you come to him to find satisfaction? How do you do that? Well, certainly if you're not a believer and you've never been transformed, the Bible says that unless the Father draws you, you will never be able to come to him. John 6 teaches us that, just a chapter before where we are. But when we have believed, how do we come to him to experience that satisfaction? Well, we do it by the power of the spirit, right? This is how we do this. We do it in our worship. We do it around the word, and we do it through communion and prayer. This is how we come to him.

By the way, all three of those things, they are wed together and they are all governed and initiated by the spirit if we are honoring God in the midst of it. We can just roll back a couple of chapters to chapter 4 in the book of John and we realize that there is such a thing as true worship and false worship. I taught on it just a number of weeks ago. There is such a thing as true worship because true worshipers worship in the spirit and in truth.

What does it mean to worship in the spirit? Does that mean that we've got moves? No, it's not what it means. Does it mean that we've had... Those were terrible moves by the way. I wouldn't blame that on the Spirit. Does it mean we get special things or whatever? No, no. Listen. Look at it upside down. What it means to worship in the spirit, it means not to worship in the flesh. That's what it means, that worship is about God. It's not about us. It's about who He is in His triune nature as Father, Son, and Spirit.

And when we worship in the spirit and in truth, we are the kind of worshipers that the Father seeks. This is how we come to Him. We come though by way of His word, which is the sword of the spirit. It's the book that when we come to it and we look into it, it looks into us. It's the only book like that. It's the only book that every time you open it, every time you open it, the author is present. So that when we look into the word and it begins to reshape us into the glory of who Jesus is, we are being shaped by the sword of the spirit. He is using the very thing that he testified to and inspired through people to write, to testify to who Jesus is.

In fact, it is the only way that we have been promised to hear from God, the only way. It's not the only way we do hear from God, but it's the only way we've been promised in Hebrews chapter 1, because we have been promised. He has spoken through the prophets. In these last days he has spoken to us through His son. That's what Hebrews 1 teaches us. So we hold and we cling to that, the word. That's why we sing the word. That's why we preach the word. That's why we put the word in front of you. It's why you should be spending time in the word because Jesus is the well of satisfaction, and you can't get to know him as he wants to be known outside of the word.

But prayer is also motivated by the Spirit. Ephesians 6 says, "Pray in the spirit." What does it mean to pray in the spirit? It means not to pray in the flesh. What does it mean to pray in the spirit though? I'm not sure exactly what that entails. Well, listen. I'll tell you this. As Daniel Henderson said, who I've heard quote this, he said, "If you want to make sure that you're praying is spirit-led, make sure it's scripture-fed." Spirit-led praying is scripture-fed praying.

We pray the words that the Spirit inspired to give to us and we then begin to pray off of that. We begin to pray into that. We begin to pray through that truth. In other words, we don't in our flesh have to make up what we're going to pray. We say, "God, this is what you said." Now I begin to commune with you over what you said, and God the Spirit will lead us as we pray. This is what it looks like to pray in the spirit. Why do we do all of these things? We do it because Jesus is the well of satisfaction. We're not going to find our satisfaction elsewhere. It's only going to come as we commune with him through worship.

When I say worship, I don't just mean singing. I mean worship through the word, and through communion, through prayer, both in listening and in talking. This is how we come to Jesus. That's why Jesus says, "If you're thirsty, come to me." But there's a second piece of this statement that he made, and here's the way that I'll say it for us. When we do come to Jesus, he gives a gift that isn't just for us. When we do come to Jesus, he gives us a gift that isn't just for us.

I want you to see this in the text. Verse 38 and 39 says this, "Whoever believes in me," Jesus says, "as scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this he meant the Spirit." Rivers of living water will flow from within them, and by this he meant the spirit. Follow me here. Just like in the beginning, in the cosmic temple that God made in his divine design, from the temple flowed a river. Living water, when you use that phrase, living water, it's a contrast to dead water or stagnant water, pooled water that's not going or coming.

Living water means it is actually headed somewhere. It's got a job to do. It's moving in a direction. And what we see from the very divine design is we see living water flowing from the temple. And now Jesus says, "If you come to me, rivers of living water will flow out of you." Do you know that Jesus was actually giving us a little bit of a foreshadowing of what would happen with the church, that now when we come to faith in Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection, believing he is the only way of salvation, he's the way, the truth and the life? That now we are made into this body, this new kind of people made from Jew and Gentile who put their faith in Messiah Jesus.

We are a new kind of humanity called the church, or what we are also called in the New Testament is the temple. So now what Jesus says is just like it was in the beginning when living water flowed from the temple, now when my people are transformed by belief in me, living water will flow from within them, from their temple into the world that they live in. You see, when we start to capture what was being said here, it is absolutely extraordinary.

This water is living, and do you know what this living water has the power to do, ladies and gentlemen? I'll give you two quick things. It has the power to bring life where there was death. That's the first thing about this water. It can bring life where there was death. In the third book of the Chronicles of Narnia series. [inaudible 00:33:51], in the third book. It's actually third in terms of release, but it's fifth in terms of sequential order, chronological order. The book is called the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Now the Dawn Treader is a boat. It's a ship. And the cast of characters that's on the Dawn Treader, the Pevensie kids and others, are making their way toward Aslan's country. Aslan kind of is a lion and it's a picture of Christ and they're making their sail, making their way, their voyage to Aslan's country. On board, there's a little mouse. His name's Reepicheep. This little character's hilarious. You know people like Reepicheep. Reepicheep is big talk and he's a mouse. He's a mouse that has a sword, but he's a mouse.

"I'll take them. I'll do whatever." You know people like that, right? They've got Reepicheep disease. Reepicheep's a great character. And as they are approaching Aslan's country, they are sailing on the sea and Reepicheep begins to talk about a prophecy for Aslan's country. It's a prophecy about the water that was salty turning sweet. Reepicheep dives in and comes up and starts saying, "It's sweet. It's sweet. The water is sweet." And as I read that, I knew that Louis with his beautiful biblical imagination had borrowed Ezekiel.

You see, what Ezekiel shows us is this portrait of Ezekiel seeing a vision of a temple. And notice what it says in verse number 1 it says, "The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple." Remember, this is a vision. "He brought me to the entrance to the temple and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east for the temple faced east. And the water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar." Do you know what that sounds like? It sounds just like Eden.

It sounds just like Genesis chapter 1 where from the throne room, so to speak, from the temple flows this living water. And then after, the description happens in Ezekiel 47 about how Ezekiel walked out and the water was ankle deep, and then it was knee deep, and then it was really deep. He sees something else. Here's what it begins to say in verse 6. "The man who was taking Ezekiel around asked him, son of man, do you see this? Then he led me back to the bank of the river and when I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. And he said to me, this water flows toward the Eastern region and goes down into the Arabah where it enters the dead sea. When it empties into the sea..."

You remember that sea is so salty, nothing can grow there, right? So that's why it's called the Dead Sea. It empties into the Dead Sea. The salty water there becomes fresh or sweet. "Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh, so where the river flows, everything will live. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit because the water from the sanctuary flows to them, and their fruit will serve for food, and their leaves for healing."

By the way, if you're thinking in your mind, "That sounds an awful like Revelation chapter 22, that's exactly where the language came from. But did you see the picture in Ezekiel, that everywhere that the river went, the living water went, things grew. Death turned into life. See, the same is true for us, ladies and gentlemen. We are new temples, and within these temples, when we come to Jesus by faith, he gives us this gift of his spirit and the gift of his spirit, listen to this, is not just for our particular enjoyment. In fact, the manifestation, Paul says, the manifestation of the spirit is for the edification of the body. It's actually for people that aren't us.

It's not just to call attention to ourselves. It's supposed to flow out of us, that wherever the river goes, things can live. Here's what that means. That means that you, sir, you, ma'am, if you have put your faith in Jesus and have the spirit of God living in you, that you are an agent of life, that you can walk into places that are dead and you can breathe life, that you can walk into places that are dark and you can be light. This is what we are told here. This isn't just for us.

And, man, the world around us needs to see this, ladies and gentlemen. They need to see this because too often we are choosing other avenues to try and satisfy our thirst other than the only one who can satisfy it. And those are broken cisterns and they leave us thirsty. They leave us, "Ugh." Basically, we've got a world that's going, "Ugh." And they're looking to us to see if we've got anything to give them. So Jesus says, "I've given you these living waters that you can be an agent of life wherever you go, that you can walk into places of death and you can be life, that you can walk into places of darkness and you can be light."

I've heard it said many times before, sometimes speaking of churches that are dead and they're like, "God's nowhere near that place." Sometimes they're talking about places, "That's a godforsaken town." Really? Because, first of all, theologically, that's ridiculous because God is omnipresent. That means God is everywhere all the time and He can't be anything other than that because He's God.

But I also know from personal experience that no place that I've ever gone is without God. And do you know why I know? Because I came there, and he lives in me. The spirit of God is inside of me and everywhere I go, even if it's a place of death, I bring life. Even if it's a place of darkness, I bring light, because Christ lives in me by the power of His spirit. And if you have believed and you have received Christ, he has given you this gift as well. You will never go anywhere that God will not be because you showed up and He lives inside of you.

Not only is this gift of living water bringing life where there was death, but it also brings fruit where there was barrenness. Let me explain what I mean. The Psalmist said it beautifully in Psalm 1, "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take, or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever they do prospers."

This is what happens. This is what happens when we carefully cultivate the book the Spirit gave us and we yield ourselves to that work of the Spirit in our lives. The Bible says we're like trees planted by streams of living water that bear fruit. Isaiah said it somewhat differently, but somewhat similarly. And even though he was talking conceptually about fasting, the principle applies and he said this in Isaiah 58, "The Lord will guide you always. He will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Write this down. Life in the spirit is a well-watered garden where others can be nourished from its fruit. Life in the spirit is a well-watered garden where others can be nourished by its fruit. You know how badly we need this, don't you? Because here's why I'm so wired today. Not just because I'm a number of times zones off, not because I'm just generally off, but here's why. I'm tired of seeing the people of God live so dehydrated spiritually. We need to see people who are filled with God's spirit, saturated by His word, bearing fruit in season so that, listen, so that everyone around us can take and eat and taste and see that the Lord is good.

See, this is a part of what it means to be on mission. This isn't about us, it's about what God is doing in the world. And he's using his people, his people, to be able to bear fruit in their lives so that the world around them may taste and see that the Lord is good. So that brothers and sisters who are struggling in their life can pull from the fruit that has come from the tree of our lives, from this well-watered garden that is our souls. And they can be ministered to, and they can... Listen, we can breathe life into the midst of death, and we can breathe light into the midst of darkness, because Jesus said when you come to him, rivers of living water will flow from within them. That's not just for our enjoyment. That's for the benefit of others.

So let me ask you this. What are you drinking? Sometimes the things that we drink make us thirstier, like soft drinks. I'm not ranting about soft drinks, by the way. I have some from time to time. But you drink a bunch of them, and even though you've put that liquid down, you find yourself going, [inaudible 00:45:14]." You drank something that made you thirstier. Alcohol? Same thing. You put it all down, you find how thirsty you are. That's exactly what happens to us spiritually. That's exactly what happens to us, that instead of coming to the source, the true living water that can satisfy our thirst, we choose other things that we think can satisfy us.

We spend all our time trying to entertain ourselves because we think we'll be satisfied. So we sit there with an open mouth drooling on our laps, just doing this. Or if you're single, I see you. Some are scrolling, some are swiping, and you do it over and over. And listen, every time, boom, there's a like, boom, there's a comment, that dopamine rush happens. And it's like, "Oh, oh, oh." Then you look up five hours later and you are thirstier than you were when you started, because it didn't give you ultimate satisfaction. Here's what it gave you. Distraction, not hydration.

Or maybe you've put so much hope and faith in a relationship and in a person that actually only belongs to Jesus, that you've looked for your full satisfaction. Maybe it's in your spouse, maybe it's in a friendship, maybe it's in something else, but you've walked right past the spring of living water and you've put all of your satisfaction over here thinking that this is what's going to satisfy you. It's made me feel better. I've forgotten my problems.

And by the way, relationships that are beautiful and relationships that are glorifying to God are wonderful gifts to us, but they are not a substitute. They are a supplement. Sometimes we've done it. Sometimes we've actually chosen pathway of achievement because we know that everything that we do when we accomplish, when we can accomplish more, that we feel this sense of satisfaction. But the reason we have to keep climbing the ladder is because every step of it we find satisfaction and then we find ourselves thirsty again.

So we climb some more thinking that when we get to the top of the mountain, we won't be so thirsty only to find... Ask the people who have gotten to the top of whatever mountain it is that they've constructed. Ask them how thirsty they are. Ask them how satisfied they are. That will not do it. Or maybe we've actually just tried real substances to try and numb pain, to try and help us forget. We drowned all of our problems. We just forgot that our problems can swim, and we wake up and we've got more problems than we thought because we realized, even though I had a temporary distraction, I did not find satisfaction.

What are you drinking? I say all of this to you in love because my heart grows weary sometimes for all of us that find people in a perpetual state of dehydration spiritually, when the world around you is literally spiritually dying. Spiritually, they are starved for what can bring them satisfaction, what can meet their thirst that they are made to have. We thirst for God but we don't know it. And so, we look, and we look to people who say that they follow God and we try to determine whether they have anything to offer.

See, what we have to remember is this, is that Jesus came... Listen to this. Jesus came to us to die so we could come to him and live and drink deeply of his life. So why don't you receive his invitation? Let anyone who's thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. Let's bow our heads together.

It's possible that you're here with a friend or for the first time, maybe it's the second or third time, and you're trying to figure out faith, God, what all of this looks like. I hope that you're reminded today of a God who loves us so much that he sent His son in the midst of our spiritual dehydration so that we could drink from a well that we never created. You see, he is the fountain of life. He's the fountain we drink from. He is our very sustenance.

And if you've never come to a place where you've turned away from trying everything else to satisfy and put all of that aside and said, "I'm only going to come to Jesus because only he can satisfy, I believe he's the way, the truth and the life. I believe he died for my sin. I believe he rose from the dead. I believe he is the only way that I can find salvation and satisfaction," if you've never come to that place, then when we dismiss in just a moment, I hope that the first thing you'll do is walk out these doors and walk right across the atrium into the Fireside Room because we've got some pastors and some other friends in there who are waiting on you to pray with you, to talk to you for a few moments about what it means to entrust your life to Jesus Christ.

There's so many people around you, sitting around you, who have made the same decision, who have come to him and been transformed. I hope that you'll do that. Maybe you're here and you've been following Jesus for some time. You've been transformed, you've been regenerated, you've been born from above, and you know it to be true and real and life-giving. But maybe in your life you started to allow some other things to be the source of your satisfaction, and it's turned your eyes in different ways and you realize that you're creating broken vessels that can't hold water.

My hope would be that you would bring those before the Lord and confess that and ask Him to help you. And just with His mercy, you would just humbly fall at His feet and say, "Jesus, I come to you. I know that you alone can satisfy me. I come to you, and I want you to fill me." And you're going to do that through His word. I hope that you will.

Father, thank you for the opportunity to talk to people that I love, that I love, who I want to see more and more be formed into the image of Jesus, to be well-watered gardens that bear fruit in season so that the people around them, people who are dying of thirst spiritually can taste of the fruit of their lives and they can meet you. Where there was death, now there can be life. This is the heart of the gospel, not to make bad people good, but to make dead people live.

May you press us into you, communion with you, not thoughts about you, not talk about you, not songs about you, but you yourself, the living Christ. Would you help us to commune with you by the power of your spirit, and would you fill us to overflowing that we might model and share the life of Jesus everywhere we are for the glory of God? I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

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Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 4 - Feb 23, 2020

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