For Sunday, December 11, 2016
Third Sunday of Advent, Year A
Deserts are dry, desolate, and parched. Yet just a little water changes everything. So it is with the gospel.
My wife Heather and I were in Scottsdale Arizona this past April for the Pinnacle Forum National Conference. The desert flowers were at their peak. To see life spring forth from such apparent desolation is breathtaking.
How often is it that we live in quiet desolation not realizing that with just a little water everything could be transformed? This is what the gospel does.
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy (Isaiah 35:1). I’ve seen this in Scottsdale, I’ve seen it in Palm Springs, and I’ve seen it in Siberia. That last one was a different kind of desert: a spiritual desert. In our ten years serving leaders there, we learned quickly that we didn’t have the answers, but that Jesus and the gospel did. We started something called the Wellspring Pastors’ Network (Источник). We got the idea from John 4:14:
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The pastors I worked with were parched. I was often parched. The cities we lived in were parched. But as we came together around the wellspring of the gospel everything began to change. This doesn’t just apply to Siberian pastors. It applies to personal addictions, to marriages, to families, to organizations, to communities, to countries, and yes, even to local churches.
Are you parched? Have you thought about a glass of water? That feeling we get when we slake that thirst? That’s a pointer to the gospel’s ability to slake our spiritual thirst. Ultimately, all of our problems are spiritual at the core. That’s why the gospel always works.
How have you seen the gospel pour into your life and bring a desert to life? If you haven’t, what would it look like if it did? Sometimes even starting to envision it, with prayer, can start the wellspring.