Thoughts on the flow of the Spirit in revival
"Down the mountain the river flows and it brings refreshing
where ever it goes." So says the popular song. This river
of life, the move of God in revival (Ezekiel 47), does bring
"times of refreshing ... from the presence of the Lord."
However, the river of God is more than refreshing. While
many would be content to stand on the riverbank, basking in
the presence of God, the river is not an end in itself, but
it serves as a tributary to connect one body of water to another.
A river must have an outlet. In the natural, a river doesn't
just flow and flow. It empties into another body of water:
ocean, lake, or another river.
In the same sense, revival is not the ultimate experience,
an end in itself, but a means to a far greater end. Through
the river of revival, we can be cleansed, yield to the flow
of the Spirit, be refreshed and move in the gifts, but the
true rivers of revival will also extend to the dry lands downstream
and reach the lost.
Even as the river must have an outlet, it must have a source.
That source must be higher than itself. Although it originates
in the mountaintops, a river does not stay there; it flows
downstream, to reach the valleys. When flowing freely, the
river of God joins our relationship with God (mountain) to
the place of need (valley). The higher the mountain, the greater
the flow. The deeper the valley, the greater the flow, the
stronger the power of the current.
Rivers don't flow indiscriminately; they have direction.
The waters never move from the east bank to the west; or upstream
and down coincidentally. It is not disorderly, but flows in
a well-defined channel, within the boundaries of its banks
and, with rare exception, follows the laws of gravity. This
speaks of the unity and submission of the body. Only when
out of control, as in a flood, does nature deviate from this
pattern. Nevertheless, many wrongly perceive revival as a
haphazard experience, inviting every manner of activity (none
of which, some feel, should be subjected to the scrutiny of
Rivers alter their landscape: eroding rough edges off rocks,
carrying downhill boulders, they make impressions everywhere
they go. This illustrates how true revival will transform
our lives and those with whom we come in contact. We are never
again the same.
A river can become a source of power, when harnessed. This
speaks of the discipline of the Spirit. However, because the
water is constantly moving, it cannot be framed, canned, or
frozen completely solid. (Lakes freeze, but rivers flow --
because they are moving.) Man's efforts to control or restrict
the flow -- whatever his intentions -- even as dikes or dams
restrain a river --interfere with the prescribed pattern.
Rivers carry vessels yielded to it, without effort, by just
"being there." Similarly, for God to have his way
in revival, all we need "do" is obey -- yield to
the flow; it will carry us.
A river does not flow straight down a mountainside. It twists
and turns. God's ways are not predictable. He doesn't do things
the same way every time. Otherwise we could manufacture the
move of God. (It's been tried!)
Geologically, a river's depth directly correlates to the
curvity of its channel. The deeper we are in God, the more
likely "extraordinary" manifestations -- healings,
miracles -- will occur. To the degree that we enter into the
flow, we will experience the power.
The river is cleansing. Obviously, this speaks of holiness,
purification. The river of life is described as "clear
as crystal" (Rev 22:1) because its waters are not muddied;
they do not mix with the earth along the river basin.
The "river of life" sustains the life within itself
(fish), and distributes the waters of life everywhere it goes
(plants and animals along its shores). Ezekiel 47:7-9 says
along "the bank of the river there were very many trees
on the one side and on the other. ... [The] waters ... flow
into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh. And
... every living creature which swarms in every place where
the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish,
for these waters go there, and the others become fresh; so
everything will live where the river goes."
© 1998 by Diane S. Dew