I had a dream several months ago that has provided me with a new, vivid way to grasp this passage of Scripture. In the dream, I found that the tub in my bathroom was full of water – but not just to the normal level. Rather, the water level went all the way up to the top of the shower curtain. Yes, you understood that right; it was a curtain. It was not even a glass door, which made the imagery even less compliant with the rules of physics.
I stepped all the way into the water. The top of it was over my head, so I found myself submerged entirely, standing in the tub. Breathing was not an issue nor a difficulty. By stepping in, I was immediately immersed in a sense of sublime, heavenly refreshment. The peace and joy flowing through me and all around me was hard to describe. It was an exquisite experience.
Then, a family member called to me from another part of the house. In a rush to meet their expectations for my attention, I stepped out of the water. It instantly lost its shape and resumed normal water behavior, falling down out of the air. The amazing moment and its corresponding opportunity were gone.
When I woke up, I knew that Holy Spirit had given me a tangible, interactive experience of His presence through this dream. Of course, we know that Jesus referred to His Spirit as “rivers of living water” when He promised His coming to us (John 7:37-39). The Lord had taken the biblical symbol of living water and brought it home to me in a very personal way.
Now, fast forward a few months from the date of this dream. One morning recently, as I woke up, He brought it back to my remembrance. In obedience to His prompting, I lay there and focused on the memory and sensation of being submerged in that divine water. “Living” describes it perfectly. I soaked in His presence again as I began my day, reliving that amazing feeling.
In the evening, He sealed the whole thing in my heart in a wonderfully creative way. As I visited at a friend’s house, her granddaughter was watching old Disney cartoons. Snatches of them danced at the corner of my eye. I distractedly noticed Mickey interacting with a mischievous seal that had invaded his bathroom.
Then, I was startled in a delighted way. At the very end of the cartoon, the seal had filled Mickey’s shower all the way up to the top with water… and was swimming and frolicking in it! It was exactly the same imagery as the dream Holy Spirit had brought me back to that very morning – with the added twist of playfulness and joy. I did a double take and grinned at Him, whispering, “Thank You!”
Here is the take-home lesson for us. In my dream, I got distracted from enjoying the living water when someone called me away from it. I allowed that person to make a demand on me that stole from me the joy of lingering in that place of immersion in Him. In allowing their expectation of me to dictate the moment, the provision intended for me was cut shorter than God intended. He had wanted me to stay, and soak, and be utterly refreshed.
We face a similar choice every day. Will we step into His presence and linger there? Will we abide, stay, dwell… in His love? He fills up the tub and invites us in. Will we remain, soaking in His living waters, or will we allow the demands on us to quickly pull us away?
*Image from “Mickey and the Seal,” https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/Mickey_and_the_Seal