The Only Thing of Value

"The only thing of value you have to share with anyone else is what I have done for you."

Let My Spirit flow from within you. God

Bob John 7:38 (TLB) - Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture says, streams of living water shall flow from within him.

(1998) I set out for the high desert in the shadow of Sandia Mountains, armed only with my Bible and a bottle of water. I had something very important to pray about, so I wanted to be alone and miles away from all distractions. But I also needed to be back by dark. Gauging the height of the sun and the available time, I hiked in as far as I dared. The eerie quiet and solitude of the desert quickly surrounded me. Occasionally I saw a bird flying in the distance, but it was always a soundless apparition in the sky, too far away to hear. The only sound was the wind in the distant mountain peaks.

After hiking briskly for a while, I stopped to survey the grandeur of the mountain range looming in the distance. As I strained to listen, I heard something unexpected - something trickling, gurgling, splashing. Could it be? My mind said no, not in the desert. But my ears said yes, so I followed the sound. Much to my surprise, I came upon a clear-running stream, complete with a miniature bubbling waterfall. Actually, the word "waterfall" is far too grand a word for a two-foot drop over the edge of a boulder, but I was immediately captivated by the charm and grace of the place. It was as elegant as a Japanese garden. The stream was no more than six feet across at the widest and only inches deep. The sandy banks rose several feet on either side, giving shelter from the wind. Stepping-stones abounded, and I made my way to a small island in the middle of the stream, just below the waterfall. The setting was absolutely perfect. I knew that I was not going to hike any further. This was THE spot! I fell in love with it, and I stayed there till twilight.

I stuck to my original resolution to pray and read my Bible for part of the time. But I simply could not resist the urge to explore a bit as well. I marveled at the variety of shapes and colors in the polished rocks along the streambed. I studied the course of the water with fascination, noting each turn and ripple and wave of the stream as it flowed downhill. I contrasted the lush growth along the banks of the stream to the desolate hard-packed ground of the surrounding desert. Who would have imagined that such a delightful oasis lay hidden from view in such barren desert country? As the twilight deepened, I found myself wondering, "Why am I enjoying this place so much?" Niagara Falls was awe-inspiring, but this waterfall is far better. Why? It is just a wee bit of mountain runoff spilling over the smooth edge of a rock. There are very few people who will ever see or know about this insignificant spot. You won't find it marked on any map as, "A perfectly delightful place to spend an afternoon!" But that is exactly what it is. I would not trade this little desert stream for all the Niagaras in the world. It restored my spirit with intimate beauty and quiet grace.

Regretfully, it was time to go. Knowing that I would probably never see this place again, I took one last lingering look. Such a tiny little waterfall - just a little one - yet so perfectly lovely! In the fading light, it looked as though the water was flowing magically from within the rock itself. It reminded me of the living water that Jesus promised would flow from within me (John 7:38). At that point I heard within my spirit . . .

You are only a little one too. But you can be just as refreshing as this delightful stream to the people you meet, if you will let my Spirit flow from within you.

Epilogue: Imagine my excitement a few years later when I found out that I would be traveling to Albuquerque again. I would have another opportunity to see this most delightful secluded spot! As soon as my business was done, I made a beeline to the desert and walked over the rise before the creek in great anticipation. I had looked forward to this moment for weeks. Imagine how crestfallen I was to discover that the stream had dried up, the vegetation had died, and all that was left was a dusty dry streambed. What a stark contrast to the lovely desert oasis I remembered. What bitter disappointment! As I stood there in utter disappointment, the Lord showed me (with great emphasis!) that this is will be the condition of my soul, if I allow myself to dry up spiritually.