Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fruit Grows Where Water Flows - Devotional - November 16, 204

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. - Isaiah 58:11
I drove up Interstate 5 toward Fresno.  A familiar journey for me, that looked eerily different this time.  The long arches of water from industrial sized sprinklers had vanished.  Green grasslands along creek beds were now arid and brown.  Signs advertising the abundance of produce springing forth out of California’s Central Valley were gone.  The farmland along my drive up the highway testified to what I already knew – we are in the midst of a drought.
Suddenly, a makeshift sign, on the side of the road caught my attention.  I expected it to point me to the nearest exit to find fresh vegetables for sale, but instead it announced a very candid reality.

fruit grows, where water flows”

I pulled off at the next exit to grab a tea.  My mind drifted to the thirsty land out the window of the cafĂ© as I stood in line.  Without water to nourish the soil, the lands could not produce.  Without water the land would remain barren.

No water.  No fruit. 

The cashier’s voice pulled me out of my distracted state.  Aware of my apparent daydreaming, she asked me her question again, “Miss, would you like something to drink?” 

I glanced back out at the bare farmlands.  There was a part of me that could relate to the parched pastures. In the midst of life’s chaos, busyness, and distractions, there was a part of me that I had allowed to go dry. 

There was a part of me that was thirsty too.
“Just water,” I nodded. 

Jesus calls himself the Living Water.
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." John 7:38
For those who believe in him, he promises an unyielding and limitless supply of refreshment and restoration.  He promises an abundance of cleansing and purification of the soul.  Through that righteousness, he promises eternal life…..and then he goes one step further. 
His water transforms us, develops us, and ultimately produces fruit in our lives. 

Want to know how well you’re being watered?  Check your fruit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

Remember, fruit grows where water flows? 
Well, weeds grow where water slows.   

In the absence of the living water, weeds will inevitably crowd our soul.  Fruitless behaviors and thoughts start to spring forth out of our lives.

Instead of love a dry soul produces fear.
Instead of joy a dry soul produces despair and hopelessness.
Instead of peace a dry soul produces worry and anxiety.
Instead of patience a dry soul produces frustration.
Instead of kindness a dry soul produces apathy and nastiness.
Instead of goodness a dry soul produces dishonesty and insincerity. 
Instead of faithfulness a dry soul produces fickleness and disloyalty. 
Instead of gentleness a dry soul produces pride and harshness.
Instead of self-control a dry soul produces impulsiveness and disobedience. 

As I surveyed my own soul’s soil during that drive down Interstate 5, I couldn’t help but notice a few weeds that had popped up. Moments of impatience and lack of grace.  Thoughts of worry and fear.  I had not kept myself hydrated.

The key is to recognize those dry patches of our soul, and get back to drinking from the well that NEVER runs dry.
“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:13

How do we stay hydrated?  By staying connected to the river, and constantly examining the fruit of our lives.  This comes through staying in God’s Word.  It comes through prayer.  And, it comes from finding accountability in others who can let us know when our fruit is looking a little…..“rotten”. 

Are you feeling thirsty?  What fruit is missing from your life today?  What parts of your spirit are feeling dry?  Where have you allowed weeds to develop? 

Unlike California we have a ready supply of living water in Christ Jesus.  The only thing we need to do is drink.

Let’s pray:  Lord Jesus, in the dry, barren places of our lives, you offer us living water.  We don’t want to be like the Samaritan woman seeking to draw from dry wells.  Instead, we choose to look to You, the Living Water; the well that never runs dry.  May we drink deeply from Your rivers.  And, when we drift from your presence, may our souls cry out and draw us back to the Living Water that continues to flow and offer restoration for our souls.  We thirst for You more than anything else.  We long to have Your fruit continuously producing in our lives.  Show us any weeds that need to be uprooted, and let us boldly choose love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And as we do, may those around us eat and enjoy Your fruit in our lives. In Jesus name.  Amen.

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