Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Streams of Living Water - Jenn and Daryl

Jenn Davis and Daryl Swartzentruber are leading the Ekaterinburg, (or is it, Yekaterinburg?) Russia team. They are at the St. Petersburg Bible Conference as I write this. You may be like John, who at the STINT Team Leader gathering last week at Nerja, asked Daryl, “Now, who are you?” Daryl was at the training, he just arrived midway through. Despite being there just the second half he happens to be the first person able to correctly identify all six Jennifer’s. It helps I guess when one is your co-leader.

One night at the midyear, I had dinner with the Ruskies sitting between Daryl and Emily and across from Jenn. I was encouraged to hear from Jenn about what was happening in Ekat. They are at such a place in ministry that they only do ministry paired with a Russian believer. So if they are going on campus for an evangelistic appointment or following-up a new believer, they call one of their students to join them. Girls who trusted Christ just last year are now doing ministry alongside the STINTers and ICS.

While we talked about all the great things in Ekat, Jenn also relayed how lately she hasn't experienced real joy. She doesn’t feel like herself. We talked about how hard life is in Russia, how our enemy who wants to rob our joy and of the life that Christ desires us to experience. I imagine many of you can relate to how she is feeling. Maybe it’s the culture, maybe it’s leading an ungrateful team, maybe it’s just leading in general and being thrust into the battle as you help bring worshipers of every nation into His kingdom. The Lord desires something far greater for us that often we experience.

John 7:37-39 comes to my mind. This is when Jesus on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles cries out with a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John adds the footnote that Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit that would dwell in us as believers after Pentecost.

The Feast of the Tabernacles or Ingathering or Booths (Ex 23:16; Lev 23:33-43; Num 29:12-39; Dt 16:13-17) was a week-long celebration of the fall harvest and time to remember when the Israelites lived in booths. Sort of like a midyear after a fall semester except for the living in booths part. It was a seven days of BBQ and offerings. On the 8th day there was an assembly.

Every seven years at this feast, the whole law was to be read. (Dt 31:9-13) This is total speculation on my part of course but I wonder if when Jesus cried out that this was one of those years of canceling debts. Jesus came to cancel the debt - so maybe. I like to imagine that when our Lord shouted out these words, the whole law had just been read. When I shared this yesterday as I led our weekly office prayer on this same topic, one of our RDs – John Lamb – said “The whole law? I got bored when you had Big read just that Leviticus 23 passage.”

Can you imagine if this were the case and this was one of those years? Maybe the assembly wouldn’t have been bored to death but they would be aware of their death. They might have wrung their hands like Paul at the end of Romans 7 of how wretched they were and that they were a prisoner of the law of sin.

Jesus offers a contrast just like Romans 8 is a complete contrast of Romans 7. Over and over again in chapter 8, Paul uses ‘life’ and ‘live’ when talking about the Spirit. The Spirit lives in us to give us life. To raise us from the dead the way He raises Jesus from the dead.

Jesus in John 7 is offering something great to those who are thirsty – refreshment, satisfaction, joy, life… abundant, exuberant, effervescent life!!! Not a life of striving, of doing, of going through the motions but fulfillment. Not circumstantial happiness, but joy, pure joy.

Come to Him. Keep coming to Him. Come no matter how you are feeling. Drink deeply. Keep drinking. Let the Spirit’s Streams of Living Water bring life to your soul.

Let's pray for each other that we all will experience the joy of the Lord today!

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