There must be more. This isn’t working.
Roy Hession describes it this way in his book, The Calvary Road:
If we are content with our present Christian life, if we do not desire with a desperate hunger to get on to the highway, we shall never get to our knees and thus never climb the hill. But if we are dissatisfied, if we are hungry, then we will find ourselves ascending.
I won’t pretend to such a holy description of my discontent. It was a frustration, filled as well with much whining and complaining. All centered around this idea of — THIS IS IT?? This is the Christian life?
I didn’t feel peace, wholeness or anything new and victorious. I was constantly striving and in some form of unhealthiness. I could find belonging if I attached myself to a cause or found a way to serve the ministry of someone else, but the concept of true family sounded like a wishful thinking message.
I attach no blame to anyone else — this deep dissatisfaction may have had God at its origin, but I took it to a place of darkness and sin. I became quite attached to the emotion and the reliance on self it provided. It was only when I came to a place of desperate brokenness that I found God in it all.
Consider the story of the bleeding woman in Mark 5 — An entire crowd was pressing up against him, but only one had the desperate boldness of touch. Where did this boldness come from? Was it some superior faith or great strength? No. It was brokenness and nothing else. I’m out of options. I am in need of a savior. I’ve sought answers from every other source — given my money to all the other “doctors” — only to end up worse off than when I started.
Brokenness finally brought holiness to my cry for more.
What once was a need rooted in selfish pride and sin — now realigned itself to my need for a Savior. On my knees, I crawled to the cross, desperate for just a touch, willing to give everything to make it happen, but knowing I had nothing left of worth anyways.
Water always seeks and fills the lowest place
“Here is the path to the higher life: down, lower down! Just as water always seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless.” -Andrew Murray
I read this quote on Thursday morning. Thursday night water poured out of our downstairs light fixtures.
For the past week or so I had been going through Roy Hession’s book, “The Calvary Road,” and Norman Grubb’s book, “Continuous Revival.” Both of these books began by addressing the dissatisfaction I’d been feeling, going on next to talk of the need for constant brokenness and then they each wrote a chapter called, “Cups Running Over,” where they describe the normal Christian life as a continuous revival of Jesus filling our cups to overflowing on the inside of us.
But, the Lord won’t fill just any cup. He fills the cup which is abased and empty, broken and cleaned only by the blood of Jesus, rather than through any of our own efforts of righteousness.
This overflowing cup is then a Christian life defined by the peace of the spirit, and sensitive to the revealing of areas of sin in our lives. A cup that notices the absence of peace and calls upon God to reveal the sin which caused such a thing — waiting for His answer and immediately bringing the sin to the light.
A cup running over — and water of the spirit which follows the natural law of water — ever seeking and filling the lowest place.
This was what I had been reading about, and then on Thursday morning, I read Andrew Murray’s quote, “Down, lower down! Just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest place so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless.”
That night water rained down upon my head through the light fixtures of our house. The kids and I were on the couch, and we noticed drips, water coming from the ceiling. My wife was running the upstairs shower at the time, and so as the kids scrambled for towels, I rushed upstairs to turn it off, hoping to prevent major damage.
Water dripped for another five minutes or so, soaking up a couple of towels in the process. Once cleanup was done, the Lord brought the quote back to my mind — water always seeks to find and fill the lowest place.
Was this really just God getting our attention in a creative way?
We called the plumber and had them come out to take a look. They arrived with a knock at the door, “Hi, we’re James and John, here to take a look at your water leak.” After spending 45 minutes running the upstairs water, cutting a hole and looking inside the ceiling, trying to trace the flow of water to someplace under the house, and searching everywhere they could think of — they found no evidence of a leak or water damage. They were baffled. I was smiling.
Besides the Andrew Murray quote, the Lord hit home His point by bringing James and John to our house, the same names as the brothers who asked Jesus for the favor of sitting at His right and left hand in heaven. Jesus’ reply, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.” Mark 10:43–44 NKJV
We experienced no more water leaks after that experience. It was God, miraculously and dramatically saying to me, “Down! Lower down!”
For those who are interested, I’ve included some excerpts below from both books I was reading at the time.
Next week I hope to continue sharing some of our story. Here is a tentative outline:
I build the house
Wake up hungry. Go to bed satisfied.
What if it’s just you and me?
You’ve lost your reverence of Me
The Sanctity of Home
I hope these stories stir you and awaken love for a Savior who has born it all for you on Calvary.
I’ll be intermixing quotes from Hession, Grubb and then adding a little of my own commentary. Reading this section will give you a good sense of what I was reading during the week that we experienced the water miracle.
Hession: The picture that has made things simple and clear to so many of us is that of the human heart as a cup, which we hold out to Jesus, longing that He might fill it with the Water of Life.
Jesus is pictured as bearing the golden water pot…as He passes by, He looks into our cup and if it is clean, he fills to overflowing with the Water of Life. And as Jesus is always passing by, the cup can be always running over.
This is revival —you and I—full to overflowing…with a constant peace in our hearts.
Grubb: We are to recognize that “cups running over” is the normal daily experience of the believer walking with Jesus - not the abnormal or occasional, but the normal, continuous experience.
Hession: Only one thing prevents Jesus filling our cups as He passes by, and that is sin in one of its thousand forms. Anything that springs from self, however small it may be, is sin.
Grubb: We have many other more convenient names for those disturbances of heart.
We say it is nerves that causes us to speak impatiently - not sin
We say it is tiredness that causes us to speak the sharp work at home - not sin
We say it is the pressure of work which causes us to lose our peace, get worried, act or speak hastily - not sin
We say it is our difficult or hurtful neighbor who causes us resentment or dislike, or even hate - but not sin
Anything but sin. We go to psychiatrists or psychologists to get inner problems unraveled - tension, strain, disquiet, dispeace - but anything which causes the cups to cease running over is SIN.
My commentary: Recognition of sin in our lives and calling sin as sin must then become a normal part of our daily walk with the Lord. Not that the sin will always be there, but that we must recognize when it is, and make no room for it, give it no excuse to remain.
Some criticize this perspective, calling it morbid or leading to a sense of constant despair.
Hession addresses the concern: People imagine that dying to self makes one miserable. But it is just the opposite. It is the refusal to die to self that makes one miserable.”
If we will go back to Calvary and learn afresh the power of the Blood of Jesus to cleanse moment by moment from the beginnings of sin, then we have learnt the secret of cups constantly cleansed and constantly overflowing.
My commentary: We have come to see that cups running over is the normal Christian life, but it is possible to see this and to give it a cursory approval - yet to remain unfilled. The problem then is a lack of brokenness. Remember, this is not mere intellectual ascent, nor repeat after me theology, here we are dealing with matters of the heart and more specifically, a heart fully exposed before God.
As Hession explains it: But cleansing is only possible when we have first been broken before God on the point concerned. Grumbling, bossiness, carelessness, down to the smallest thing are all revealed as sins, when we are prepared to let our days be ruled by the peace of God. Many times a day and over the smallest things we shall have to avail ourselves of the cleansing Blood of Jesus, and we shall find ourselves walking the way of brokenness as never before. But Jesus will be manifested in all His loveliness and grace in that brokenness.
My commentary: Your heart is perhaps stirred at this point. You’ve known of the dissatisfaction I described at the beginning. You realize your lack of Living Water. And that rather than a life of unending joy and peace, your day to day could better be described as empty, dry, hard or easily unsettled. You’ve told yourself and others that you’ve done the right things, believed the right things, and given this “death to self” thing a try. None of it worked.
Prior to this, everything and everyone else has been the problem, but now you are seeing that the responsibility lies with you. What next? What do you do?
Hession: Many of us, however, have neglected so often and for so long that we have ceased to hear it [God’s conviction]. Days follow days and we feel we have little need of cleansing and no occasion of being broken. In that condition, we are usually in a worse state than we can ever imagine. It will need a great hunger for restored fellowship with God to possess our hearts before we will be willing to cry to God to show us where the Blood of Jesus must be applied. He will show us, to begin with, just one thing, and it will be our obedience and brokenness on that one thing that will be the first step into Revival for us.
Grubb: For where sin is seen to be sin and confessed as such, the blood is also seen to be blood, praise God, ever cleansing from all unrighteousness; and where the blood cleanses, the Spirit always witnesses - and the cups run over again.