It’s really kind of crazy — we’ve lived here over six years, right along the banks of the Tama River, and never once enjoyed a dip in the water until this year. We heard that the river wasn’t a clean river, and so we avoided entering it. But looking at it, it looked so inviting and refreshing. We saw other people kayaking, other people swimming, still others barbecuing nearby. We would admire it from afar, but never enter in ourselves.
Then this year came. Pools and beaches are at limited capacity. Restrictions in place that keep us from enjoying the water like we would like. Couple that with the extraordinary heat of the last couple of weeks and the shortened summer vacation, and we were needing a place close by to go to and cool off.
One of our friends researched the Tama River and found, to our delight, that the water is not only swimmable, but it has a high grade “A” ranking right by where we live, which is the ranking just under drinkable water at AA. What a discovery! So we found a nice shady spot where the water was safe, the current calm and we waded on in with our family. Wow! What a refreshing thing to do — and so close to us! Our experience with the Tama River just improved a hundred times over this Summer, and we would have never discovered it unless everything else was limited as an option. Funny how life’s limitations can lead to the greatest breakthroughs.
God’s Presence is Like a Refreshing River in the Hot Summer
As I was making this video, I realized it is a perfect analogy to God and His presence in our lives. God’s presence is there for each and every one of us — we can see His handiwork all over creation (it’s His very own work, after all). God’s presence is described in the Bible as a River of Living Water, a perfectly pure river which you can drink from and never be thirsty again, a river you can enter and go deeper and deeper until you float away in God’s great current. It is a place of refreshing for the weary and restoration for the tired.
God’s presence is with you now. Maybe you’ve seen it expressed in our lives or in the lives of others who are full of His joy. But have you ever experienced God’s presence in such a way that it refreshes and revitalizes you?
Experiencing God’s presence is the difference between religion (trying to be good to earn God’s favor) and true Christianity, which is receiving God’s love for you through Jesus Christ and trusting him to make you clean. It’s when you stop trying to do life by your own strength. God graciously gives His Spirit to everyone who believes in Him, and His Spirit is like a river of living water that flows from our very hearts. This is a spring of refreshing like no other, and it only belongs to those who have given their hearts over fully to Jesus.
I could have no greater hope and prayer for you that you would discover this source of refreshing that brings life in the midst of so much restriction and that the heat of summer that would dry up all your joy would in fact become a source of joy as you enter in God’s goodness in His river of life.
My only regret in living close to the Tama River all these years is that I didn’t actually enter it until this year. All those hot summers gone by in the stifling heat, and I could have been swimming all along! All of those days with not enough time to go somewhere far, but all I needed was close by and I didn’t even realize it. It was staring me in the face the whole time!
Don’t make the same mistake with God. Don’t wait longer to look into who Jesus is, to believe on Him and receive the Holy Spirit. You can be refreshed right where you are, right now. You too will wish you would have tried it sooner in life!
Imagine if you could say 2020 was the best year of your life so far because it was the year, through all the difficulties, that you found the greatest treasure of all that was so close all along: God’s sweet river of refreshing in Jesus.