During our college years, my friend had chosen to serve Christ while I remained deaf to the wooing of the Spirit. Ten years later, she had drifted away from her Savior, and I was learning to love Jesus. We lived a good distance away from one another but were able to connect for one afternoon when I traveled to visit family. Catching up with events in our lives, the Holy Spirit bubbled out of me. No longer the quiet, reserved, “what-will-people-think-of-me” personality, I couldn’t stop praising God with every sentence out of my mouth! Pure, unadulterated joy.
As I prepared to leave, my friend’s eyes filled with tears. “I want whatever you have.” We prayed together. Powerful, connected prayer.
I long to be filled with that kind of praise twenty-four/seven but have never yet experienced such a magnificent “fountain of joy” again. At first, I scolded myself. “What’s wrong with your walk with Christ that you can’t bubble over every day?” As I matured in my walk, I realized no human can manufacture joy. It originates from the Spirit and appears in as many forms as the bodies of water that fill the earth. God Himself speaks of wells and pools, streams and rivers.
In John 7:38, Jesus spoke about living water. I like the Living Bible’s translation the best: “For the scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.” The Revised Standard Version is almost as good using the phrase, “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” The NIV speaks of “streams of living water.”
Rivers of living water can be lovely and serene or turbulent and terrifying. I can float on the surface or swim with its currents, but the Holy Spirit carries me. I don’t control the river.
If I spend time on His river every day, joy will flow in some fashion. Does the world see a woman filled with praise for Jesus? Do they see me basking in a tranquil pool of faith? Riding the rapids in a whitewater expedition and trusting the Leader with my life? Cheerfully serving my Captain as we carry the Gospel to every port along the river? Do they see a spring-fed well that provides pure water to thirsty pilgrims?
I hope so.