The ford at Eynsford in Kent, near where we used to live was our favourite place to visit. At its source the river is a mere trickle. Here children splash and paddle in the shallow waters. Further downstream are the deeper waters where you can leave the bank and wade into the middle. For those that do it is an exhilarating experience.
….As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep ….through water that was knee-deep ….and led me through water that was up to the waist.
He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.” Ezekiel 47
“Wade into this river of the water of life. Do I hear you cry, “It is up to the ankles”? Go deeper, brother! “It is up to the knees.” Go deeper, brother! Think more of divine love; value it more; live upon it more; trust it more! “Sir, it is up to my loins.” Go deeper, brother! Thank God when it begins to lift you from your feet and bear you up above all earthly things. When you cannot touch the bottom rejoice. When you must needs swim, be happy to cast yourself upon the blessed flood. Drown you it cannot: these are not waters to sink in, but “waters to swim in.”Charles Spurgeon in the 19th century
George Whitefield’s story
Whitefield is one of my 18th century heroes. Since first reading his Journal when I was a student I have always been impressed by his deep saintly life. His ministry to Britain and America was a major influence in ‘the Great Awakening’ in the 18th century. Arnold Dallimore’s biography of Whitefield is a thrilling story of God’s amazing work in those years. Whitefield’s new found joy in prayer is reflected in this passage from his Journal:
“Oh, what sweet communion did I daily have with God in prayer, after my coming again to Gloucester! How often have I been carried out beyond myself when sweetly meditating in the fields ! How assuredly have I felt that Christ dwelt in me and I in Him ! And how did I daily walk in the comforts of the Holy Spirit and was edified and refreshed in the multitude of peace !”
“However one thing threw me in the meeting a week ago, unlike other people there that night I felt nothing! I enjoyed the meeting, I participated willingly, but ….I had no sense of God’s presence. Yet I knew this was because of me, not the meeting! But, since then, I have thought about virtually nothing else but Jesus! It has taken me over a week to take all this in, that He has grabbed hold of my life and won’t let go! Would I go back? Absolutely – I would go anywhere Jesus is present. But I don’t need to GO anywhere – He is present where I am. I had no sense of that before I went to Victory, but I have since.”
With such examples I want to go deeper too! Children are content to paddle in the shallows (as in the photo above). Grown-ups want to go into deeper waters and swim!
Next – Water into Wine
Return to The Wellspring
Top photo of ford at Eynsford by Ron Strutt