The Author of life is the Fountain of life, the Creator of light, the Fount of glory; and thus, spurning the things that are seen, making a passage through the world, in the loftier regions of the heavenlies let us seek the Fount of glory, the Fountain of life, the Fountain of living water, like intelligent and most wise fishes, that there we may drink the living water which springs up to eternal life.
- Columbanus, Sermon XIII (Irish, 7th century)
"If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" Now this he said about the Spirit...
- John 7.37-39
Perhaps every sincere Christian will agree that "the loftier regions of the heavenlies" do, in fact, exist. Somewhere. But how many of us will claim ever to have visited there? Or to habituate there as part of our pursuit of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Such language was not mere spiritual rhetoric for Columbanus and other Celtic Christians. They lived highly disciplined lives, by means of which they were able to penetrate the glory of God into the unseen presence of Christ and drink deeply of the living water of the Spirit and glory of God.
We know this is so by their descriptions of such visits to this unseen realm. But, even more important, we know this to be so by the impact their lives made as a result of regularly engaging the glory of the unseen Christ. Their lives of holiness, witness, service, and culture-making indicate that God was working in those generations of believers in ways we can only imagine.
But Christ is sufficient to bring us into His presence, to quench our deepest spiritual thirsts, and to send us forth renewed in His Spirit so that we may show and proclaim Him to the watching world. Our calling is but to seek.
This is the work of spiritual disciplines - prayer, meditation on Scripture, solitude, creational theology, worship, and fasting. We cannot will ourselves into the presence of Christ, into the loftier regions of the heavenlies. We must be transported there, and the gates and avenues of that glorious transport are the disciplines God Himself prescribes.
But we will only take these up once we're persuaded they can actually get us some place truly glorious. Let Columbanus and others like him be your guides and persuaders. They knew the glory of God, and the glory of God in and through them brought revival and renewal to their world.
The rivers of living water are flowing still today. But we must thirst for them first, then seek them by the means God has appointed.
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
Evidently, at least in some academic circles, even being "potentially evangelical" is like having the plague, as I explain in today's ReVision.
What would it be like if every person in your church were self-consciously, consistently, and really involved in the work of evangelism? You can lead them there, and our seminar, "Taking Up the Challenge of Evangelism," can show you how. Write me for information today.