“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
The August sun is blazing. I have been working in the heat, with still much work to go –
An ignored thought surfaces: I need water.
I am reminded of the clarion call from the prophet Isaiah:
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts…”
Yes, I am thirsty. I had forgotten. The heat, the intensity of the work…
Suddenly I realize my thirst can’t be ignored –
“…Come to the waters” (Isaiah 55:1)
Have you been there recently? Out in the “heat” of the battle, the heat of constant demands, even the heat of ministry, when you suddenly realize you must tend to your thirst?
There is a deep thirst within us that only Jesus can satisfy. Blaise Pascal famously said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” This vacuum gets filled in a beautiful way when we first give our lives to Jesus, but our need for His filling doesn’t end there.
We were created for a constant abiding in His presence. There is a line in an old hymn that reads: “I’m drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry” (“Dwelling in Beulah Land,” C. Austin Miles, 1911). Are you drinking from that fountain? The fountain never runs dry, but apart from Him we certainly can. Jesus says He is the vine, and we are the branches (John 15:5). If we remain in Him – IF and only if – then we will flourish. We cannot thrive without drawing from the life in Him.
What does it mean to draw life from Jesus? Jesus gives us the answer: “Remain in my love” (John 15:9). His love is our life-source. The Apostle Paul says without love we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2). Living in love is the essence of what it means to belong to Jesus. It is how the world knows we follow Him (John 13:35) and it is how we ourselves know we are abiding in Him (1 John 4:16).
Whatever “heat” has been draining our supply, we all need to drink from the Living Waters of His love. There is a “pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1). It is available for whoever would come and drink.
I hear the heart cry of Jesus longing for the thirsty to come. I think sometimes Jesus gets lonely over us. I am reminded of the time the crowd dispersed and He turned to the disciples and asked, “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67) or the time He lamented over the Ephesian church having left their first love (Revelation 2:4).
He is thirsting for us, as we are thirsting for Him.
He is our Bridegroom. He is our First Love. And He is ever extending an invitation for the bride to come and drink of His love.
“Remain in my love,” He says. Because nothing can satisfy like the love of Jesus.
“I’m coming back to where we started
When I first felt Your love
You’re all that matters, Jesus
You’re all that matters
I’m coming back to what really matters
Just Your heart
I just want to bless Your heart, Jesus
I just want You
Nothing else, nothing else
Nothing else will do
I just want You”
Lyrics from “Nothing Else” by Cody Carnes
I believe Jesus is extending an invitation. He is calling out to those who will pause and acknowledge their thirst. It is an invitation to come and drink freely, to “buy without price” (Isaiah 55:1). He is awaiting our acceptance of the invitation. He will wait as long as it takes. But why keep Him waiting?
The Bridegroom is calling.
I pray that we would be the ones to answer His call, to come and sit at His feet. To abide in His love.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away” (Song of Solomon 2:10)
P.S. We want to extend an invitation to you to come away with us and meet with the Lord for a time of rest and refreshing at the “First Love Retreat” in January 2024. God blew us away at this year’s retreat and we are believing for even more next year. We are increasingly expectant for what God has to unleash in the body of Christ in 2024 and are committing to starting the year off right in a dedicated time of intimacy with our First Love.
FIRST LOVE RETREAT
Bradenton, FL // Jan 5-8, 2024
First Love Retreat will provide simple teachings to enhance your devotional times. Together, we will meditate on the reality of who God is: His goodness, His sacrifice, His pre-eminence, His love. Enjoy His presence in times of quiet reflection and meaningful conversations. Encounter Him, and experience who He is.
Come. Rest. Renew the fire of your First Love.