Drought had held us in thrall for weeks. Then one afternoon thunder rumbled and crashed and reverberated through the hills. Torrents of rain beat on the roof like a drummer sounding out a tattoo. The rhythm of rain rose and fell with the gusts of wind that drove it, sometimes flinging itself almost horizontally across the awakened land. We seemed to be immersed in some primeval concert from the dawn of creation.
Wonderful refreshing rain! In a few minutes the sky poured down more water than I could pump if I kept the hose for a week. We could almost hear the sigh of relief from trees and corn fields and soybeans and meadow flowers.
Sometimes we, or our churches, go through periods of dryness. Pleasure in worship disappears. Joy in Bible study shrivels. Confidence in prayer dries up. We feel desperate for a refreshing sense of God’s presence. We long for the rain of the Spirit to fall.
The question we need to ask ourselves when we feel dead and dry is; am I thirsty for God or complacent?
God speaking through Isaiah promised backsliding Israel, “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessings on your descendants.” (Is. 44:3). (See also Is. 35:1,6.) Revival came to Israel during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. It has come to the Church at special times throughout history.
We don’t have to wait for a national revival. We can seek it individually. Writing after his astounding descriptions of the suffering servant who “was pierced for our transgressions” Isaiah invites us to come and quench our soul thirst. “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat” (Is. 55:1)! (See also Is. 52:7; 53:5.)
Fulfilling this Old Testament prophecy, Jesus offered the Samaritan woman “living water” which he went on to describe as “a spring of water welling up to eternal life”(John 4:10,14). He further clarified his meaning at the Feast of Tabernacles where “he said in a loud voice to the assembly, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit”(John 7:37-39).
Clearly, the source of soul-refreshment—the Holy Spirit— dwells within every born again believer. Unless we have grieved the Holy Spirit by cherishing sin in our hearts, He is eager to revive us and through us others. Revival begins with me and you. Let us lift our faces to heaven and pray earnestly for the abundant rain of the Spirit.