It was the beginning of the ’80s. The green mountainside farm in our valley was deceptive. Under the grass, the earth had become hard and dry. We had endured almost three years of drought.
Our farmstead was supplied by water from a spring 300 yards or so in distance up the slope above our home. The piped supply ran down from a pool that was created by a low concrete wall under the shade of natural indigenous trees that occur in watercourses in the eastern parts of South Africa.
Once you diverted for a spot like this on the landscape, you would be quick to discover a haven. Beautiful places they usually are, to escape the summer heat – where the lone walker and wildlife could shelter and drink to satisfy their thirst and enjoy the cool breeze.
The Faithful Spring of Years Was Running Dry.
We had a problem – once again in the drought, the supply went down to a trickle, relying on nighttime to fill the pool to supply us during the day. We had been to remedy this before, but this time we knew it may not be that easy, if at all.
The sign of trouble was that we would run out of water by mid-morning every day. That which we did have, was stocked with wildlife – worms and baby millipedes and indescribable creepy crawlies!
It Was Imperative – We Needed Our Own Supply of Water.
Something needed to happen or some action was needed. This time it was, make or break. We were already helped in practical ways by kind neighbours, some drive away in each case, but in this instance, there was no other way. We had to have our own supply of water, our own spring needed to flow again.
We couldn’t rely on anyone for a supply. So we needed a miracle during a drought.
It was over our lunch that my wife and I were discussing the issue of the non-existent water to the house. The decision was to dig the source of water again to see if it would improve matters.
We had no sooner come to the decision when I heard Zulu voices singing a tune in passing the farmhouse. I went out to see who it could be. There was our Dairyman Bernard, accompanied bu his nephew and brother-in-law armed with picks and shovels.
Where are you going, Bernard? I asked. The reply came that they had a hunch to dig around the spring again. I hadn’t mentioned my thoughts to anyone, neither had I had the opportunity! So the four of us went up the hill to the water source.
The digging and clearing of silt began and continued until we were removing fresh earth, tracing the trickle to excavate all along to open up the flow of the stream to its very source.
Digging Further Than We Ever Have Before.
The work between us continued unabated for over an hour, with the stench of muck and sludge, then decomposed peat-like foliage and finally, shale removed. Then it appeared – the unexpected. A very old artifact, a broken pot of clay was uncovered. An exciting find from ancient times.
That meant we had dug further than anyone had done before, to a time when some African lass from a past century or more had broken her clay pot while drawing water. It was significant because the times had changed for as long as I could remember.
Clay pots were used for brewing beer, but water-drawing and carrying had been replaced by more durable, less breakable at the spring. Vessels like metal containers at first and in recent decades before our find, the inevitable plastic container.
We didn’t continue with or excavation and mucking out for long after that find, when suddenly at a stroke of Bernard’s shovel there was a result that brought us joy!
The water burst forth and began to flow strong and crystal clear to fill that reservoir. Digging to the very source had rewarded us!
The sight of the rapid flow caused the four of us to react as one – to clear as much of the banks around the pond to enlarge the volume of the reservoir as much as we could. We took those moments as an opportunity to make more room for the water while there were still minutes to spare before the incoming water would no longer allow us.
Then the water overtook our efforts as it began to raise the level of that reservoir and we stood back leaning on our shovels to watch it fill up.
We never had a shortage again, in spite of the drought continuing for another eighteen months.
We were made a team that day, Bernard, Themba, Jabulani and I – by a miracle that transpired before our eyes in a common quest to dig for water. We returned down the hill to clean of the muck and mud on us under the tap that now flowed at the farmstead.
Life Insights from Opening a Spring of Water.
Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.” Mt.13:52
I look at the story I have just told. Our life as followers of Jesus is so much like that. It is for me, a great analogy. I don’t think there is anyone of us who can deny becoming stagnant in our walk at various stages in our lives. There is always a point where we get dissatisfied with stagnation. Stagnation can, much like our real water supply, begin to deliver creepy-crawlies when left too long.
It Takes a Decision – Enough! Then When You Move – Resources are There!
So a decision needs to be made and action taken. How long are we prepared to wait – and suffer? In my experience, often too long. The key is to stop, leave everything that seems important – daily routine, expectations, to-do lists and delay tactics.
Why delay tactics? this is the most common block we have – it could be a messy job. That little reservoir was going to stink. Under the seemingly small clear water lay sediment, a sludge of algae and decomposing leaf material and more. When disturbed, it wasn’t going to be pleasant.
We would rather leave it be. But taking action meant we brought healing to that water system. Our lives get choked up with the events of life!
When we move on to what needs to be done – the help arrives! – just like it did that day. These may be bits of help or people that appear, but the most important is – Grace to do the job in the moment of decision is activated.
Use The Tools that are Designed to Achieve the Goal
We have our spades, picks and shovels as believers too, but in a low dry time, we are slow to pick them up for the digging.
We have the Scriptures- the Word of God, worship music and we have the means of bread and wine to focus and be spoken to and be refreshed as the Holy Spirit communes with us the reality of our life in Him. To allow them to convey grace into our lives and situation and lead us into a flow of life again. But there is more for us in these times.
In these Times, Dig Deeper Than We Ever Have Before
There is always a goal in mind to do so, but we are inclined to make them an end in themselves, so often stopping short of the full power of the release that could come. It is such a wonder to me that the whole of revelation history in the written text reveal the One who was to come, yet we stop short of all our history in Him revealing God’s activity in revealing that He is God WITH us throughout our lives, and in THIS present moment.
And so we become stultified and limiting in our perception of what grace and life are available to us. I see so many examples on social media where it is obvious that many believers are no longer drinking from the full flow of the spring. Instead – comfort themselves with their favourite doctrines, quotes or even to deify the written word itself.
Yet the Whole of revelation is there to reveal Jesus who said: “I Am the way the Truth and the Life and no-one comes to the Father but through me”. We have access to the fresh strong flow, but we won’t dig! All these have been given to arrive at THE WORD himself, who is the Light of all who come to Him.
He is the source of the living water.
When we dug that spring we eventually uncovered ancient artifacts. Not long after that, we passed as far as it was possible – where the very fount came out from a hole in the shale layer.
When we do we surpass our sacred cows, pet doctrines or patting ourselves on the back about “faithfully keeping the doctrines that were handed to us” No there is more, that goes far beyond those.
We go back to the ancient of days and learn afresh! “Come to me you who are weary…” there is a way of entering His rest that we need to make room for! That is where the power of God is released and we enter this new chapter of God Life where all our striving ceases and we see the flow of water flood people, communities and nations.
And that lies beyond our own created securities, dear friends no matter how we wrap them in what looks like Christianity in our time.
More Than Ever Before
Ask God’s Spirit to give the courage to disturb the comfortable trickle we are satisfied with and to uncover the fulness of a flow we once had? Of revival like Wesley, Wigglesworth or Jeffries experienced. No! – I hope and long for more – “Exceedingly, abundantly more of His love to be revealed” than we could ever dream or hope for (Eph. 3:16-18.)
This is The Moment – The Time for Enlargement of The Reservoir
This is the time. The Holy Spirit is moving and breathing over the nations. Get ready. Allow and make bigger space and let Him fit us out with a total renewal – new ways, for a new move of God such as history, has not yet had the opportunity to record. Out with the old, in with the new! The old ways will just not do.
Hey! I realise there may be readers here who are just too burnt out to even pick up any means of grace. The beginning is, don’t hold out! Just come to the very Source of Life and call on Him! He will not hold out on you.
On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (Jn.7::37,38)