Living a River Life

by | Apr 30, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Rivers. I have always been drawn to them. The flow of the water as it winds through a woods or field. The sound the water makes as it passes over rocks and around obstacles. I can remember throwing leaves and sticks in streams and rivers as a kid, watching as my “boat” went on its voyage. I do not think this experience is unique to me. There is something about a river that pulls us to it.

While there is much that I, and many others, love about rivers, it is the life they produce that makes them so special. Think about it. Even in the most extreme droughts, if a river or stream is still running, there is life around it. Plants continue to grow and animals seek its life-giving power. Where there is flowing water, there is life. What can this life-producing picture from nature teach us about living?

One of my favorite images from the Bible is the idea of living water. It is referenced a number of times, but the one that most often comes to mind is a quote from Jesus while being questioned about who he is. John, one of Jesus’ closest followers, recorded his words. Jesus says, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38, NIV) Jesus says, we can live lives that overflow with living water. What a picture! But what does it mean for you and me?

Over the past few articles, I have focused on how to live a life that produces hope in others. In Producing Hope Overflow, I discussed how the hope we give to others is really the overflow of the hope inside us. In many ways, this is a picture of the “rivers of living water” Jesus is talking about. Like a river, we can live lives that produce more life wherever we go. So, what kind of life will you live?

This is an important question to consider. Do you want to live a life that produces more life, or a life that sucks life away? To say it another way, do you want your life compared to a river of living water or a desolate desert? One shares life-giving power while the other stunts and prevents growth. I believe most people would say they want to live a “living water” kind of life, but it requires an intentional choice.

First, we need to be connected to a source of living water. A river always has a source and it must remain connected to the source to continue to flow. Second, we have to allow the river of living water to flow out of us. This is a daily decision. Will I live a life that produces life in others? Saying yes to that question each day will change the way you live, and see the world and the people who live in it. Instead of wondering what you can get from others, you will think about what you can give to others.

The more you choose to live a “living water” kind of life, the more the life-producing river will grow. The more it grows, the more life that will be produced. More on what this might look like next time.

In the meantime, begin to ask yourself, “what would it look like for my life have living water flowing out of it?” “How can I live a life that produces more life instead of sucking life away?” The world could be more full of life if we all began to ask these questions. Check back next time to continue the conversation.

James Belt

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