Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Wells of Salvation

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Isaiah 12:3
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(There is a video I recorded of a song called The Well 
if it does not come to my e-mail followers please click on the title to get back to the site)

While I was at the Navigate conference several weeks ago and was feeling kind of fuzzy brained after a very early morning and most of the day spent traveling. The first night's worship service which was wonderfully refreshing. My church experience is more of one of serving and ministering to others, so it is a treat to be able to sit back and enjoy the fruit of the labor and ministry of someone else. I was talking to my pastor who was also at this event and he also shared the same experience. Its not that we don’t experience and worship God during the worship services where we are leading and serving. We do but it has a different dynamic of God flowing and ministering through you rather than simply receiving. I think there is value in making sure your leaders get away to be refreshed from time to time during the year. For me the Navigate conference was a powerful time of refreshing ministry.

As a leader I have learned that unless you become a “well” or plant yourself by the stream of living water you quickly become dried up and burned out. The demands for water from the people you are ministering to will quickly leave you empty unless you are daily spending time in the presence of the Lord to be refilled. By spending that daily time alone with the Lord over time you become a well of salvation where others many come to drink. I have been trying to encourage people to become wells. If you have been a believer very long you really should know how to tap into the river of God's Spirit that flows from His throne. Sadly I find that even people who have been Christians a long time seem to be clueless and come parched and weary running from well to well or drinking from the cups of others. Its time we learn to go to the source.  We do not need an intermediary to go be for God on our behalf. We are kings and priests before our God. We have been adopted and grafted into the family tree. Yet too many of us wander around like beggars when we should be dishing out food and living water to the broken and hurting.

It is possible if you are in a church ministry position for your well to become dry because the demands are great. Its easy to get so busy serving that finding time with Jesus becomes very small compared to the demand placed upon you for living water. It is also possible to have living water flowing through you and not realize that you have a leak. I experienced this myself recently.  I prayed for a woman and I felt the power of the Holy Spirit flow through me in a powerful way, her need was so great that she left me empty. It was in that moment as I tried to be refilled that I realized that my well had a bunch of leaks that made it difficult to refill my own well. I'm sure this is a bit out there, its hard for me to describe. The Lord gives me pictures like leaky wells to help me understand spiritual concepts far beyond my understanding. Its like trying to explain what makes an airplane fly to a child. For me it was an issue of leaky faith. God had told me some things and the circumstances were causing me to doubt what God had said and confirmed to me previously. There are times I feel like Joseph, God gave him visions of his destiny and purpose as a young man. Then he is betrayed by his brothers, sold in to slavery. While in slavery he is wrongly accused and put in prison. While in prison he interprets some dreams and is right on but still he finds himself being tested and tried by that vision that God had given him so long ago. Surely he must be crazy - right? It was 33 years that his life was seemingly on hold.
I am sure he must have had times where his faith wavered and leaked. I'm sure there were days that he felt discouraged and confused. There are some things that no matter how crazy and impossible they may seem that God keeps saying "hold on, I'm working it all out. The story is not over yet. You may have some of those kind of things too. I think Joseph made it through because he new how to be connected to God. Rather than shake his fist at God for his long years of hardship he allowed God to use it to mold and shape him. He pressed and became closer to God rather than turning away.

I am more and more convinced that most of the people I encounter during a day and quite often even the Christians don’t know where to get their own living water. Many Christians run from meeting to meeting to drink from the wells of others. Which is great, thats one of the reasons God raises up leaders in His church. I don’t think in general that people are being encouraged enough to develop that personal intimate relationship with the Lord. We need to move from babies that need to be fed milk in bottles and spoon fed to become mature believers who practice the presence of Jesus and are filled to over flowing.  For a long time even as a leader I did not understand what was happening. I would just find myself running on empty because people were drinking from my cup or pitcher and I would need to go find someone else with water to spare to get filled up. It is funny to think there could possibly be a drought of living water but I have noticed a verse that says in Amos 8:11 there can be a famine of the word of God. So I suppose there can also be a famine. We can become dry. Spring up oh well with in my soul.
 Amos 8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD,
   “when I will send a famine through the land—
not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
   but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. 

Dear Lord, 
Cause us to become so connected to you that the river that flows from your thrown flows through us. Cause us to become wells that keep not only our own sprit watered but gives us enough to share with the parche and thirsty. Help us to disciple others to go directly to you as their source. 
Lord if there are leaks in our cup, in our pitcher or our well, I pray that you would repair and heal those broken places in our lives. Show us those places where we have started to give up on the things you have spoken to us.  Refresh and restore us even if it is many years like it was for Joseph be near us and help us to trust you. Become our source and cause us to become wells that reach deep into your underground river.

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