A recent research project conducted by the RZIM organisation revealed that the main reason why people stopped going to church was that it was "dry" and "hypocritical". Probing further, they discovered that the two reasons given were linked. Where church attenders felt that those they were worshiping with were hypocrites, their experience of worship became meaningless. In his resultant book, Has Christianity Failed You? Ravi Zacharias makes a very simple appeal which I would like to commend in a moment.
Jesus described coming into relationship with God as being like having your thirst quenched. When we "drink" from the water that Christ offers, our lives are filled with deep meaning and purpose. When we are filled with the water of God we are transformed from the inside out. But quite unlike drinking physical drinks, when we drink from the water of God we becomedispensers of God's living water like a bottle of life-giving water on offer to dehydrated and soul-parched people (John 7:38).Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.Isaiah 55:1
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Christ offers living water - the only kind of 'water' that can truly satisfy a person. We are created to 'drink'. God's people are the best drinkers of divine life-giving water. In the midst of the sand-storms of life when our mouths become parched and strength become weak, we have the privilege drinking from a never-ending supply of life-giving, soul-refreshing water. This is why we don't need bad imitations of this purpose-filling, peace-giving water such as alcohol, drugs, sex, amusements, or man-made religion - which all leave people thirstier than quenched. This is why it is a tragic thing when God's people neglect to drink the living water on offer from God and choose rather to reject the Source of Living Water and instead hew out their own cisterns.
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.Jeremiah 2:13 (also Jer. 17:13)
When you are filled with 'living water' you become like an oasis. Apparently, under the right conditions, in a dry desert, the water of an oasis can be smelled from a great distance. And in a world gone phenomenally dry, those who are filled with the water of God emit an utterly foreign fragrance to the water of the world (2Corinthians 2:14). This fragrance is made up of the combined aromas of integrity, self-sacrifice,generosity, kindness, voluntary acts of service, care for others, prayerfulness,forgiveness, and humility. Our lives are like a bottle (the Apostle Paul used the word "jar" or "earthen vessel" [2Tim. 2:21 - Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work]). Our bottles should be full of the living water which God offers. It's when a believer is not - that is, when their bottles are not 'washed', or, when their bottles are 'dry', or, when their bottles are full of the wrong 'water' - that people look at us and label us as "hypocrite!". What this hypocrite has discovered and would like to share with others who would like to be full bottle Christians is, the God who saved us and loves us and longs for us to drink His living water wants us to continually come to the Well for more living water.
¶ On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink."John 7:37
Wannabe a "full bottle Christian"? Then, "Come." Come to Christ. Come to Christ not unwillingly, not arrogantly, not in a self-conceited way. Come thirsty. Come empty. Come openly. Here's what I have found: the more you come to the Well, the more Living Water you draw, the more you realise you are unworthy to come! This is precisely where the Enemy of souls strikes!!!! He reinforces this awareness and "hopes-to-hell" that you forget that your right to God's Living Water is not actually a right at all but a 'borrowed' guest-pass given freely to you by the only One who does have a right to it - because it is His. Therefore, if your walk with Christ is characterised by a growing sense of unworthiness then it is a sign of your growth - not your sinfulness.
¶ The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of lifewithout price.
Your Bible is a gate to the Well. Your church is a gate to the Well. Your time of prayer is a gate to the Well. It is my hope and prayer that we can be "full bottle Christians" that makes the charge of dryness and hypocrisy by opponents of Christ and His cause as laughable! This is not to say that I hope we can all attain to sinless perfection in this life, but rather that people will see us as "full bottle Christians" who make frequent trips to the Wellspring of Life for forgiveness, strength, peace, joy and fulfilment.
Psa. 34:8 ¶ Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!