Tag Archives: healing

Healing the Water

WaterEvery time we have moved to a new location, we have noticed a difference in the taste and properties of the water that comes out of the faucet in our home.  Sometimes the water has been incredibly hard, which causes our appliances to calcify, renders the bathtubs impossible to clean, and adds a patently unpleasant taste to our favorite beverages (coffee, tea, or just plain water!).  The simplest (and cheapest) solution for this dilemma would be to install a water filter under the kitchen sink or even on the water line that runs through the refrigerator.  However, the water supply in one Texas location was so unpotable that we were compelled to purchase a water softener to improve the water quality for the entire house.   Interestingly enough, the “fuel” for that water softener was nothing other than oversized bags of salt.

Water is vital for life, and its toxicity or purity dramatically affects every aspect of our day-to-day activities.  Of course, although bottled water is now readily available, at least to most of us in industrialized nations, that was not always the case.

We can read two examples in the Old Testament of methods used by leaders to heal the water on behalf of a community.  In Exodus 15, 22-26, we read:

22 Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. 23 When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”).

24 Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. 25 So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink.

It was there at Marah that the Lord set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. 26 He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”  (NLT)

The Lord directed Moses to throw a specific piece of wood into the water; that piece of wood (not just any piece of wood) made the water potable.  For us as believers in Jesus Christ, that particular piece of wood is the Cross, which represents God’s Presence and power with us.  He heals us and protects us; He frees us from bitterness that could  poison our souls.  Asking God to help us add the power of the Cross to every situation can bring healing and hope to the worst imaginable circumstances.

Again, in 2 Kings 2: 19-22,  The Lord directs Elisha to bring healing to the water supply in a particular way:

19 One day the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha. “We have a problem, my lord,” they told him. “This town is located in pleasant surroundings, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive.”

20 Elisha said, “Bring me a new bowl with salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went out to the spring that supplied the town with water and threw the salt into it. And he said, “This is what the Lord says: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or infertility.” 22 And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said. (NLT)

In this case, God instructed Elisha to cast salt into the water.  Salt is a reminder of our Covenant with God (see Lev. 2:13, Numbers 18:19, and 2 Chronicles 13:5).  That Covenant is a perpetual covenant that cannot be dissolved.  It transforms our lives and guarantees God’s Presence with us.

Water & FireIn turn, Jesus reminds us that, as believers, we are the salt of the earth (see Matthew 5:13).  His Presence, due to the power of His Crucifixion and Resurrection on our behalf, is what transforms us and has the power to impact everyone around us.  May the Gospel of the Cross actually change me, heal me of every trace of bitterness, and cause my 

 

life to be a beautiful taste of Jesus to those around me, a clear reflection of His glory!   Lord, make manifest in my life what that Wood and the salt of Your Presence can do!  I give You permission to heal the waters of my soul.

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The Power of the Trickle

water_dropletI am learning that we should never underestimate the power of the trickle to erode strongholds in our lives and to flood us with God’s goodness.   Most things begin with small cracks in the fabric of our everyday routines. Typically, nothing changes dramatically overnight, and even the apparent dramatic changes are, in fact, the fruit of a protracted period of systematic beating against walls of resistance to what God desires to establish in our lives.

We read in Ezekiel 47:  1-12:

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The Orphan Spirit — A Motherless, Fatherless Generation

20160518_170852A friend of mine once commented on the fact that she and most of her friends had never really been parented or mentored as children.  Her words struck me speechless. After all, the people to whom she was referring (including herself) still had two living parents who were part of their lives, at least to some degree.  She continued by explaining that most of her generation were children of parents who had been pre-occupied with discovering who they themselves were; as a result, they had had little time or energy for training and mentoring their children.

As a child born in the fifties, I was raised with traditionally minded but forward-thinking parents who strongly encouraged me to pursue an education and a career (which certainly could include being a wife and mother).  They also modeled a well-developed work ethic and strong moral fiber.  They loved me unconditionally and gave me more than just a glimpse of the Father heart of God.  I assumed my family was typical of most families — yet I soon found out that mine was the exception!

Certainly, my parents were not perfect, nor was their generation patently virtuous. However, during my childhood, there were certain general standards for ethics, integrity, and morality that were well established in our communities.  As a result, when some of us had an itch to rebel, everyone knew it WAS rebellion.  That, in fact, was the whole point:  rebelling against what some young people perceived to be the restrictive, traditional standards of their parents’ generation.   If there had been no standards to rebel against, I am not certain that said “rebels” would have found insurrection so attractive.

A few decades later, our society is increasingly amoral.   Amorality and widespread tolerance of all manner of behaviors, with no boundaries at all, can tend to produce a generation of insecure, unstable, powerless young people who have no idea who they are.  Many of them have no vision, dreams, or goals, and no confidence in their potential.  Perhaps their parents never DID find themselves and were paralyzed in terms of giving their children affirmation and guidance.   Perhaps their parents abandoned them or were patently incapable of caring for them (due to financial constraints, emotional or work-related stress, addictions, etc.) — or perhaps the children left home and subsequently found themselves stuck in a rut and unable to return.

Whatever the specific cause in a given individual’s case, I find we are surrounded by a host of motherless, fatherless children; often these “children” are adults who have no hope, no direction, and no understanding of their inherent value to God or anyone else.  Often they have abandoned any dreams they had as children and have no positive experience with healthy community or family relationships.   Certainly, even those of us with living parents can feel like abandoned orphans, at least part of the time.

What does this observation mean for the Body of Christ?  The Scripture clearly mandates inclusion of the outcast, the lonely, the widow, and the orphan (see Deuteronomy 24:17, 19-21).   God wants us to incorporate them in our families and care for them as if they were our own.   He “sets the lonely in families; He leads out the prisoners with singing;…” (Psalm 68:6a, NIV).   Psalm 68:5a declares that He is a “father to the fatherless.”

In the sea of ministry outreach opportunities, sometimes the best thing we can do is the simplest thing:  be a loving “parent” or “sibling” to one another.   God demonstrated that ministry model when He declared Himself to be our Father; He also said that He, the Lord, our Maker, is our Husband; Jesus is our elder Brother.  The Lord Himself is a better father to us than the best earthly father could ever be, and He loves each one of us as a well-beloved, precious child made in His image.   THAT news should serve as the foundation of how we treat one another, both inside and outside the walls of the our church gatherings:   sometimes people just need a mommy to love them and listen to them, to give compassion and hope; other times, they need a daddy to understand, forgive, and walk alongside them through challenges.  Simple old-fashioned kindness works wonders, particularly when repeated in a relational context over the long haul.

Father, give us YOUR heart for the orphans — the fatherless and motherless children and adults who surround us.   Empower us to bring healing to those who have been disappointed or damaged by authority figures in their lives.  Work miracles of restoration in simple acts of care and kindness as we include one another in this process of discovering true life in You — in Jesus’ Name!

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