A few nights ago Sally and I sat down to a candlelit evening meal. However this was no romantic tryst. A failure of a mains cable left the top half of our road with no electric power for nearly twelve hours.
I worried about the fire hazard from the candles, while Sally was concerned about the freezer temperature. In the darkness I automatically reached for the light switches but it was to no avail. There was no TV and we found reading by torchlight quite difficult.
I thought about the countless people around the world who do not have power in their homes, victims of war, poverty, or those living in remote underdeveloped areas.
How we take our power supply for granted!
Then I wondered whether I take the power of God’s Holy Spirit for granted. Jesus describes how this comes to those who believe in Him. He says it is like a mighty river. (see John 7:37-39). Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.
I thought back to a time we spent in New Zealand in 1991. At the end of a three month teaching tour about the Healing Ministry of the Church and the Power gifts of the Holy Spirit, Sally and I embarked upon a few days sightseeing in a camper van around New Zealand’s beautiful South Island.
As part of this tour we travelled down the Waitaki River valley. Between the 1930’s and the 1980’s the river was the focus of a massive Hydro Electric building program. There are eight large power stations on the river. The station we visited had a total of seven turbine generators. Each of the Waitaki power stations would be similar.
Yet all that power came from just one source, the waters of the river Waitaki as it flows from the Southern Alps to the sea. Because of the river’s flow, hundreds of thousands of lights, room heaters, radios, and other electrical appliances would “come to life” when switched on.
Analogies are never perfect, but you might think of the turbines as churches. All the tiny lights, and electric fires could be like individual Christians “coming to life” through the power of the Holy Spirit, when they ask for that power to be “switched on”!
It’s quite possible that when Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as a river he would also have had in mind the vision of Ezekiel in chapter 47. In this vision Ezekiel sees a mighty river flowing from the temple “so where the river flows everything will live” (Verse 9) and the trees that grow on its bank bring God’s loving goodness to all. The passage ends “Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing”
Spiritually we should not be sitting powerless, as if by candlelight, but bathed in the loving power of God from Jesus who is…..
The Light of the World.