Flow, River, Flow!

Blog post by Stan Kellner – www.stankellner.com

(Read John 7:37-38)

On one of our Israel tours we did a crazy thing – we ran the rapids of the Jordan River and lived to tell about it (well, with a few scrapes and scratches as souvenirs).  

The Jordan River has its start in the north part of Israel, actually beginning from three underground streams at Tel Dan, Caesarea Philippi and the Hasbani River (from Lebanon).

 Here’s the deal – Rain falls on Mt. Hermon, a limestone mountain, very porous by the way.  The rain soaks deeply into the mountain then must find its way out.  That way out, the beginning points of the Jordan.  The headwaters of the Jordan are fresh, clear and very drinkable.

Ancient map of Israel
Courtesy of Biblica

The Jordan then flows downstream and empties into the Sea of Galilee.  At the bottom of the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan continues its journey down to where it literally ends at the Dead Sea, with no outlet from there.

I noticed a curious thing regarding the flow of the river.  The further it got from the source, Mt. Hermon, the dirtier it got.  Just below Galilee is the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism.  We have baptized folks there on every tour.  Sadly, the waters at that site are quite dirty with scum, leaves, twigs, and who knows what else.  DON’T drink the water!

The Jordan flows into the Dead Sea and has NO outlet.  Here’s what happens – the Dead Sea evaporates.  In fact, it is evaporating at an alarming rate (and that’s a whole other issue to discuss sometime).  The Dead Sea is filled with such a high mineral and salt content that nothing…yes that’s right NOTHING can live there – no fish, no vegetation, nothing.  Uh, that’s why they call it the DEAD Sea.

 My point? – I have several:

  • In our spiritual walk, we are like Mt. Hermon, allowing the water of the Word to soak deeply into our lives.
  • We MUST stay close to the source – the pure, spiritually drinkable Word of God.
  • The further we get from the source the more impurities we pick up.  I have fallen into that “picking up impurities” trap all too many times.  Can I hear an amen, considering that is probably your challenge as well?
  • Finally, as we take in the Word of God and have no outlet, we eventually evaporate in our spiritual walk with the Lord.

The last point is why we need to allow John 7 to be active in our lives – we need to be an outlet for the rivers of living water to a thirsty generation.

TODAY, as Jesus challenges us, if we believe in Him …from our innermost being shall flow rivers of living water…to those with whom we come into contact in life’s journey. 

 Is The River flowing free and clean through us? 

stankellner.com © 2010.  All rights reserved.

Mountain Dew…some after thoughts

Before I mention a few things, here’s a picture of that awesome 9100 ft. mountain in Israel – Mt. Hermon – actually borders Israel, Lebanon and Syria.

Notice how green and lush the land is near the mountain. 

As I’ve been pondering the truth about how we live in such a way to make the world thirsty, I’m reminded of the passage in I Corinthians 3:6-7 –

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.”

Recently our body of believers rejoiced when a guy came to Christ.  It was SO awesome.  His thirst began by one person sharing life with him and the witness of the Word.  Then another person spent more hours with him and shared the life of Jesus in a very compelling way.  The person that actually led him to Jesus had just met him that night at a gathering we had at a restaurant after our service (we meet on Sunday nights). 

The final person’s heart was ready and so was this guy’s.  God spoke through this last link in the chain and he was ready to accept Jesus’ love and forgiveness.  The two of them excused themselves from the table, went outside for a bit, more questions were answered and then the challenge came, “Would like to accept Christ and receive His forgiveness?’  He answered, “Yes”.

So, in essence this guy’s heart was made thirsty by believers who exemplified unity, who were drenched with the dew of the Word and this led to him drinking from the eternal fountain of life!

What’s your recent testimony of how God used links in the chain and the dew of unity to bring a thirsty world-dweller into God’s family?

stankellner.com (c) 2010.  All rights reserved.

Mountain Dew…more than a soft drink!

(Read Psalm 133:3)

My wife and I lived for many years in Colorado, home to 52 “Fourteeners” (mountains that are 14K feet or higher).  We certainly took the view for granted some days but mostly appreciated the beauty of the area.

 We were wonderfully surprised on our first trip to Israel.  I studied about it since I was a kid, growing up in Conservative Judaism in the Boston area but nothing prepares you for seeing the real thing.

 One stop on our tour was Mt. Hermon.  We saw it in the distance and were quickly struck with the fact that we saw snow on top.  Wait a minute.  A snow-capped peak in Israel? The country that is supposed to be all desert (just like the movies portray). 

 Yup!  There’s even a ski-resort there that is open most of the year. 

Mt. Hermon is over 9100 feet high and because of the surrounding climate and low levels like the Dead Sea (1200 feet below sea level), a thick, puddly dew forms on the land that literally covers that part of northern Israel. The dew is so thick you can almost bottle it and sell it as the original “Mountain Dew”.

No coincidence that when the discussion of unity comes up in Scripture that a key picture that is painted to express the impact of this unity is the dew of Mt. Hermon (Psalm 133:3). 

What the psalmist is trying to say is this:

The experience of unity among God-followers is so impacting that those around us feel the impact, whether they want to or not.  Dew, by its nature, is refreshing, invigorating, life-giving.  The world in which we live day to day is dark and dry and longing to have their thirst quenched with that which lasts, not just the passing trends of the day or one-night stands, or the latest designer drug or the next great business deal.

God wants to use you – your group, your church, your breakfast buds – as dew-givers.  May the unity you experience through the power and presence of Jesus in your midst so impact those around you that they literally approach you for a drink!

stankellner.com (c) 2010. all rights reserved.