September 4, 2016 – manuscript

God said it

Have you ever been thirsty?  Of course, all of us get thirsty.  When was the last time you realized you were dehydrated?  Some of us are probably dehydrated right now.  By the time we feel thirsty, we are already dehydrated.  Thirst is our body calling for re-hydration.

Dehydration affects the performance of the majority of our body. Nearly all of our systems do not function as well without the proper water intake.

According to www.breakingmuscle.com,[1] here are 10 Life-Changing reasons to drink more water:

Drinking water keeps us living. Depending on our environment, we can live only a few days without water – maybe a week. We can live much longer without food. For most of us, we should prioritize the consumption of water far more than we currently do.

  1. Drinking water can prevent some types of cancer. Yes, that’s right – various research says staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon cancer by 45%5, bladder cancer by 50%6, and possibly reduce breast cancer risk as well.7
  2. Drinking water makes us less cranky. Research says dehydration can affect your mood and make you grumpy and confused.3 Think clearer and be happier by drinking more water.
  3. Drinking water helps us perform better. Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance. Water composes 75% of our muscle tissue!4 Dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.
  4. Drinking water helps us lose weight. Sometimes we think we are hungry, when actually we are thirsty. Our body just starts turning on all the alarms when we ignore it. For those of you trying to drop some pounds, staying hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss.
  5. Drinking water helps us have less joint pain. Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated. This is actually how glucosamine helps reduce joint pain, by aiding in cartilage’s absorption of water.
  6. Drinking water flushes out waste and bacteria. Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat. If we don’t drink water, we don’t flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a myriad of problems. Also combined with fiber, water can cure constipation.
  7. Drinking water prevent headaches. Sometimes headaches can be caused by dehydration, so drinking water can prevent or alleviate that nasty head pain. Next time your head hurts, try drinking water.
  8. Drinking water makes your skin glow. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly. Drinking water also helps the skin do it’s job of regulating the body’s temperature through sweating.2
  9. Drinking water feeds your body. Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body. Water serves at the body’s transportation system and when we are dehydrated things just can’t get around as well.

 Nehemiah 8 brings us to a scene of revival in the city of Jerusalem.  The opening verse tells us all the people gathered before the Water Gate.  Verse 3 also mentions the Water Gate.

So, what is the Water Gate?  I found one solid piece of information.  The Water Gate was on the east side of Jerusalem’s wall.  It took a path to the Gihon Springs and provided the sustainable water supply for the city of Jerusalem.  There were some suggestions about what the water was used for, but different scholars varied greatly on those suggestions.

It is important to note this water comes from a spring.  This means the water source will never run dry and it refreshes those who have access to the source.

Throughout the Old and Testaments, the Israelites had to go find water; it didn’t come out of a faucet like our water.  Some cities built aqueducts, but most often they looked for water sources like springs because of the sustainability they offered.

Let’s go to the New Testament for an example.

Scripture Text: John 4:13-15 (ESV) – 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

In Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well, he tells her that he is the only refreshing source that will never run dry.  When we take the list of life-changing reasons to drink water and we make Jesus the water, we find that Jesus keeps us living.  We find that Jesus prevents spiritual cancer.  We find that Jesus makes us less cranky.  We recognize that Jesus heals our body.  We learn that Jesus flushes spiritual waste and bacteria when we submit.  Jesus prevents headaches.  Jesus causes us to glow in our community.  Jesus feeds us.

According to John 4, springs of living water well up inside of us when we submit to Christ.  I want to invite you today to focus on the spring and not the well.  The spring is pure and refreshing.  The well becomes contaminated if not replenished by the spring.

That is the point of the meeting at the Water Gate.

Scripture Text: Nehemiah 8:1-12 (ESV) – 1And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

Here are 8 Life-Changing actions when Jesus, the Living Spring, replenishes the well of our lives.

  1. We will be unified with other like-minded believers. The total clan of Jerusalem gathered as one created being. They set aside their work, their agenda, their desire, their history, and everything else that had any importance to them, so they could be one voice in Jerusalem.  We will notice throughout chapter 8, they were unified beyond distractions.  Jerusalem was about to receive a fresh dose of Romans 12:3.  We also need a fresh daily dose of Romans 12:3, “ I say to everyone among us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

Not one of us is the spring.  We are all wells.  If we ever begin to think we are a spring, we violate Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me.”

What would a worship service look like if every followers of Jesus walked into this room with the perspective that he/she is a well that will become contaminated without the replenishing of the spring?  What would outreach efforts look like?  How would your family calendar change?  How would your priorities adjust?

  1. We will crave God’s instructions for our lives. The people of Jerusalem were thirsty for God’s instruction.  They were spiritually dehydrated.  Thirteen years had passed since Ezra was last in Jerusalem.  The people were eager for Ezra to give God’s instruction on this first day of the seventh month.  This day is the Jewish New Year.  The seventh month was to be a month of Sabbath.  It was sacred.  Verses 9-11 tell us three times this day and month is “holy to our Lord”.
  1. We will give God our undivided attention. According to verse three, Ezra read the Torah from early morning until midday.  They gathered at 6am for church and finished about noon.  The rest of verse three says the people were attentive.  For six hours, they removed every distraction from their lives.  For six hours, they were fixed upon the moment.  Attentive is what happens when you go to movie and wonder where the time went.  The best verse that supports this type of attentiveness is Exodus 24:12, “The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.”  The words come and wait make an interesting combination.  Go, make the trip to the top of the mountain so we can visit.  When you arrive on the top, become on the top of the mountain.  When you have become fully present and fully engaged, I will give you the laws and commandments.  Spiritual mediocrity allows half-attentiveness.  In order to live as a well that is repleshished by the spring, our attentiveness must be fully engaged.
  1. We will honor and respect the Word of God. Write this word down – REVERENCE.  Verse 4 tells us Ezra stood on a platform.  In verse 5, Ezra opened the book of the Law in front of the people.  As Ezra opened the book all the people stood.  Refer to action #1.  I am not going to suggest that people stand for the reading of God’s Word every time because there is great potential for it to become empty liturgy.  I am always more concerned with the spiritual condition of hearts and minds.  I want to give you nine words.  There is a wallpaper graphic on this manuscript that you can download for your phone.  If you and your family embrace these nine words, they pull you into deeper honor and respect for the Word of God. In our rapidly changing world, followers of Jesus must honor and respect the Word of God more than anything else.  Those who don’t know Jesus have zero honor and respect this book because our lives show them they don’t need to.

 God said it.  I believe it.  That settles it.

(download here)

 If we are able to submit to those nine words, the first four actions will develop strongly in our lives.

 

 

[1] http://breakingmuscle.com/health-medicine/10-life-changing-reasons-to-drink-more-water