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Tag Archives: living water

Apart from Me?

“The Italians have a Proverb, ‘He that deceives me once, its his fault; but if twice, its my fault.’” This is where Americans have derived the saying “fool me once, shame on you; full me twice shame on me.” Unfortunately, anyone who attempts to be good without relying on God will experience disappointment over and over again.

“I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. You are already clean because of the word which I have given you [the teachings which I have discussed with you], John 15:1-3.

A disciple shares an analogy used by Jesus.  This imagery compares God to an arborist.  Whenever human beings begin to sag, tire or wilt, the Gardener prunes every dead branch to stimulate growth.  The key to maintaining growth is staying connected to the vine.  The vine is Jesus, symbolic of the source to spiritual life.  Trying to pursue holiness apart of Jesus wears souls out, like a perfectionist who is never satisfied.

Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing, John 15:4-5.

This passage serves as a needed remainder to me that living life on my own isn’t working.  Thus, I am dying of thirst, in desperate need of living water.  Right now I feel like the apostle Paul in Romans 7, wanting to do the right thing, but unable to do so.  Therefore, it’s time for this vicious cycle of failure to come to an end.  The answer is easy, let God in to change you from the inside out.  Away with apart from me, replaced by Jesus in me.

by Jay Mankus

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More than the World Has to Offer

Regardless of how you were raised, there will always be individuals who embrace a prodigal spirit.  Despite countless warnings, some people have to learn the hard way, ignoring the advice of friends, family and mentors.  For those who go down this path, this could be merely a phase in life before common sense takes over.  However, the longer you indulge your flesh, any reckless binge can become bad habits or in extreme cases resulting in addiction.  After cravings, desires and lust have been satisfied, what else does the world have to offer?

A few days later, the younger son gathered together everything [that he had] and traveled to a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and immoral living. 14 Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to do without and be in need, Luke 15:13-14.

Every day throughout the world, a modern version of Garden of Eden takes place as demons, evil spirits and sinful minds justify poor decisions.  The whispers of Satan lurk within minds eager to compromise.  Temptation often begins with “Did God really say or is God keeping me from enlightenment?”  From here its only a matter of time before the fall.  Yet, what are these distracted souls missing?  What does Jesus mean by living water?  How does one obtain an abundant life?  Perhaps, opening the pages of the Bible will open your eyes to an alternative life style that provides more than the world has to offer.

Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And]the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil,” Genesis 3:1-5.

One day a Pharisee was curious about a popular first century leader.  Afraid his colleagues might find out, Nicodemus approaches Jesus at night, in the cover of darkness.  Following a sarcastic comment, Jesus reveals his purpose for being born, coming to save mankind, John 3:16-17.  This concept was hard to grasp for a religious zealot like Nicodemus.  During a later conversation with a tax collector, Jesus takes this concept one step further, “coming to seek and to save that which was lost,” Luke 19:10.  Regardless of where you have been or what you have done, Jesus offers a clean slate.  While the world tends to keep a record of wrongs, God offers an infinite amount of grace, mercy and forgiveness.  When you come to your senses, your heavenly father is waiting with open arms.

by Jay Mankus

Dying of Thirst

When a body does not possess as much water and fluids as it should, dehydration sets in.  Dehydration can be mild, moderate or severe, life threatening if not replenished with liquids.  According to Men’s Health, there are 6 stages of dehydration, traced by the color of one’s urine.  When exercising in the summer sun, dehydration can lead to symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  In a worst  case scenario, death can occur like the tragedy of Korey Stringer, a former Minnesota Viking who passed away on August 1st, 2001 following an NFL training camp practice.

There are others who are dying of spiritual thirst, unable to find the living water Jesus promises in John 4.  I spent the first 15 years in isolation, using my stuttering as an excuse to avoid intimate relationships.  Whenever you can’t communicate, express your feelings or make an emotional connection with someone, a part of you begins to die inside.  Spiritual dehydration commences once an individual is cut off from meaningful conversation which enriches one’s life.  If this separation continues, souls become cold and numb, on the verge of dying of thirst.

This is where we find a Samaritan woman, who had become a social outcast even among her own people.  After 4 broken relationships, the word on the street wasn’t kind.  Terms such as adulterer, prostitute or whore were likely whispered behind her back.  John 4:7-26 records an interesting conversation between 2 polar opposites between a prophet and someone searching for meaning in life.  Hot and thirsty, Jesus breaks the ice, then changes the topic of conversation from the weather to eternity.  Before the day was over, this lost soul is introduced to living water which quenched her thirst.  May this story quench your spiritual thirst and give you assurance for eternity.

by Jay Mankus

 

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