Water and the Spirit

Water in Scripture is sometimes a picture of the Holy Spirit (Act 2:17; Joe 2:28–32).

  1. Water is an absolute necessity of physical life; the Holy Spirit is an absolute necessity of spiritual life. There is no spiritual life apart from the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit and no spiritual production apart from the filling of God the Holy Spirit.
  2. Water quenches physical thirst; the Spirit satisfies the soul.
  3. Water washes; the Spirit sanctifies. Just as we need the daily application of soap and water to cleanse the body, we need the constant application of confession through which the Holy Spirit cleanses our souls.
  4. Water refreshes the body; the Spirit renews the soul. If we will allow Him to do what He was sent to do, God the Holy Spirit will renew our soul when it is aching under the blows of life.
  5. Water is a source of power; the Spirit is the source of power for living. We can harness the power of a river and produce enough electricity to light up a city. We can harness the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and light up the world around us.

Harnessing the Power

  1. Be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18). “Be filled” is the present passive imperative of pleroo, a word that means “to fill a deficiency, to fill with quality, to fully influence, to fully possess.” The present tense tells us to keep on being filled. The passive voice means that we do not produce the filling, we receive it. The imperative mood means that this is a command from God, We are commanded to keep on being fully controlled by the power of God the Holy Spirit.
  2. Grieve not the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30). “Grieve” is lupeo and refers to the kind of grief and sorrow someone feels when he loses a loved one. This is how the Spirit of God responds to us when we are in carnality. By using a negative with a present imperative, Paul is ordering the Ephesians to stop doing something they are doing. “Stop grieving the Holy Spirit!” The context tells us that grieving the Spirit has to do with sin.
  3. Quench not the Holy Spirit (1Th 5:19). Sbennumi means “to extinguish,” as one would douse a fire. “Do not douse the fire of God the Holy Spirit.” Again, the present imperative with the negative is a command to stop doing something; some in the Thessalonian church were apparently making a habit of quenching the Spirit. The context of the verse tells us that “quenching” has to do with indifference toward the Word of God. We cannot get lax in our dedication to the Word because only the Word can maintain the steam of the filling of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:16). Peripateo, “walk,” is a present active imperative. The active voice tells us this has to be a personal volitional decision. The present tense tells us to keep on choosing to walk this way, to make this a way of life. The imperative is a command from God. To walk in the Spirit means to live every day in the power of the Holy Spirit.

When we grieve God the Spirit, when we quench His power in our lives, then we are not filled with the Spirit; we are out of fellowship. The solution to being out of fellowship is simply confession, which always brings restoration (1Jo 1:9). When we live in fellowship, filled with the Spirit of God and obedient to the Word of God (1Jo 2:3), our sin nature is rendered inoperable (Rom 6:6; Gal 5:16; 1Jo 3:6). “Grieve not,” “quench not,” “walk in” the Spirit—all in the active voice—are personal decisions that will result in our consistently being “filled”—passive voice—with the Holy Spirit.

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