Lord, may the rivers of living water flow from my heart! You are the source, the eternal spring – Spirit of Yahweh, to you I sing! Well up within me and fill my soul till it overflows and brings relief to this thirsty land, your mercy reaching through my open hand! Clean out my heart of whatever trash is blocking the flow of your pure current, help from above bringing hope to the hurting through your endless love.
“Living water!” What is that?
In the Scriptures there are several ways that the imagery of “living water,” a spring, is used to teach us what it means to live in unity with God Himself, doing what he most wants to do. In John 7:38-39 Jesus explains that it is the Spirit living in us that flows like living water to others. And in Ephesians 3:15-19 we learn that when we are strengthened inwardly by the power of the Spirit, the Messiah living in us, we can learn the infinite dimension of God’s love and be filled with the fullness of God. That is when that love can keep on overflowing, touching those around us. The Lord is the source, when on our own we would run dry.
I am dipping into those truths again during this time back in Nyarafololand, where the needs of people around us tear at our hearts and make us wish we could meet them all. That is when we truly need that discernment that comes through our Counselor, the Spirit. And there are times when he says to stretch beyond what is “normal,” depending on him. One of the ways in which we’ve seen him supply what was beyond expectations was through those who gave through the years to our Compassion Fund so that we could help young people who were truly in desperate straits. It was God’s compassionate love flowing through them, with us as a kind of pipeline, to many who needed “living water” in this parched land.
Let me tell you three inspiring stories that will demonstrate the amazing way God reached out through some of you to change their life paths.
These two brothers are from Tiepogovogo, our “home” village. They decided to follow Jesus when they were teens. Their father, a nominal Muslim deeply involved in traditional occult practices, was so angry he basically threw them out: no more food, no help. They were in high school, and suddenly had no support. The Compassion Fund was able to come to their rescue and pay school fees. Through years of desperation, often wondering how they would make it through to the next year, they stayed true to Jesus.
The older of the brothers, Nyihɛnɛnifanhanɛ, married a young Palaka woman, Clementine, when Glenn was here last year. They now have twin baby boys, José and Joseph. Nyihɛnɛfanhanɛ is now teaching in a new elementary school that recently opened near where he lives. He was able to get his middle school diploma through the help of the Compassion Fund, which makes him eligible to do this.
Pedjouyaha, still single, is now teaching biology at a private high school in town. With the help of generous donors he was able to get an associate’s degree in agricultural development, his passion, but kept being taken advantage of by different companies as an “intern” with no pay. He finally realized he might be able to fill in as a teacher since the need here is desperate, and now has even earned the award of “best teacher” in the school this year due to his skills in communication and computer. He is working toward getting the teaching certificate necessary for teaching at this level so that he can continue to stay in the profession. As his shirt proclaims, yes, he loves what he does!
And interestingly, their father now admires them. He actually calls for advice whenever something comes up, even training in a trade for a younger brother who has a disability. Maybe someday he will realize that these two young men are where they are socially because they are in the Family of Yahweh, the God of love!
The young woman holding her baby, her first child, is Haby, who I came to know as a young pre-teen when my friend Saly began to foster her. Haby was friends with Saly’s daughter, so they had become aware of her suffering after her mother died, when her father’s other wife began to abuse her. So Saly took her in, but did not have enough income through her secretarial job at the police station (then the town hall) to provide for her two daughters as well as for Haby. One of our dear friends sponsored Haby through the Compassion Fund. Haby was able to go to school and came to know the Lord, too. She excelled in high school and was accepted at the university, where they decided she would major in Spanish! (You don’t get to choose your own major!). The Lord provided a strong Christian man as her husband, and she is now teaching Spanish in Korhogo, a major city near Ferke, at a private school. And she, too, is a shining light, a person who was nourished by spring-fed waters and is passing it on.
Perhaps the idea of living water being a flow of compassion is new to you. Here is a passage from Isaiah that underlines the way mercy and social justice actually are what demonstrate that you are truly worshiping Yahweh, the LORD, rather than just performing religious observances, and become light and living water. It is much easier to ignore this teaching than to live it out, but many believers are exactly that, light and refreshing water, as they live out the compassion that matters. And in exchange, they are blessed by the Lord with his presence and guidance and strength. Such encouragement!
6 Isn’t the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness,to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him,and not to ignoreyour own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly.Your righteousness will go before you,and the LORD’s glory will be your rear guard. 9 At that time, when you call, the LORD will answer;when you cry out, He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you get rid of the yoke among you,the finger-pointing and malicious speaking 10 and if you offer yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted one, then your light will shine in the darkness,and your night will be like noonday. 11 The LORD will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry. (Isa. 58:6-11 CSB)
The wadi (seasonal wetland) in the featured photo above, just down the road from where we are living, is nearly completely dry right now and the space around it has dried up. When the rains finally come, everything will change. There will be water for the animals, and rice fields that succeed. It is amazing what a difference flowing water can make! Let us be like a spring of refreshing water, drinking in the loving kindness of our God, and see the way a parched land can become verdant!
4 thoughts on “That Living Water!”
I have prayed for these two brothers! It is heartwarming to learn what God has done for them, in them, through them. I’ve even prayed for their father…his story isn’t yet finished, I believe. Such wonderful examples of God’s faithfulness in all the lives you have shared here.
Thank you so much for your prayers! They matter–you can see! No, the father’s story is still being written. Keep praying!
Such powerful stories of God’s grace!! Thank you and Glenn for how your dedication in allowing God to work through your ministry, changing people’s lives for the better in so many ways!! 🙏
Yes, God’s grace is amazing! We are just pipelines, so privileged.