Pastor Casey revisits a scripture from a few weeks back, Psalm 84:6a “As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring;” He goes back to verse 1 and begins to walk through this psalm for us today. In the first verse he points out that we are the house of God. What is on the inside of us makes us lovely, being filled with the glory of God. As he moves on to verse 2, he takes some time to develop the thought process of how our soul (mind, will and emotions) yearns to be near God. More amazing, is the idea of how can our flesh cry out for God, when Galatians tells us that flesh is at enmity with God?
We see in Galatians 5:16-18, that if we are led by the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh and we are not under the law. Pastor Casey points out that we are under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus not the law of sin and death as noted in Romans 8. Our flesh desiring God begins with an act of will-then a choice to walk toward God-our flesh follows. So yes, (v.2) my soul and my flesh, can cry out for God. We do have a choice based on our will to serve God, or not.
Pastor continues moving through verses three through six, elaborating on the young, the altars, dwelling, praising, strength, pilgrimage and finally wells. He encourages us to live as near the altar as we can get; bring forth the young/next generation to follow God; dwell in God; know that God is our strength; set our hearts to be near; and build the wells that bring refreshing. When we find ourselves in the Valley of Baca, we can sit and weep, or dig a well.
Pastor Casey starts us out with a question, “Are you hungry; what are you hungry for?” Then he shares a great promise in Jesus’s own teachings; Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” Shall is a very strong word saying you will receive. Then in John 7:37-38 “on the last day, that great day of the feast, (Tabernacles) Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
An interesting bit of history on the feast of Tabernacles shows us that this is the only Jewish feast at which all were welcome to the celebration, gentiles and Jews alike. Tabernacles was celebrating a time of meeting with God. At the end, a time of pouring out water on the altar to symbolize the glory of God covering the earth. So here are people celebrating, eating, drinking, visiting, living in booths/tents and participating in the symbolic act of pouring out water on the altar. Jesus will soon be pouring out his life in order to cover the earth with the glory of God.
Listen in as Pastor Casey shares his heart on going after God with a hunger and thirst to be filled.
Scripturereference: Matthew 5:6 ; John 7:37-38; II Samuel 23:14-45.
Pastor Casey begins by briefly reviewing last week’s message on wells and trees. He really focuses in on the wells. He points out that you have to work to connect with water/have a well. When we connect with God our family tree can change. If we can’t seem to break free, perhaps we need to stop drinking from our familiar well. Maybe it’s time to go dig and drink from a new well that produces life.
So too, the woman that went to the well in our scripture passage this morning, could not seem to break free. She needed a new well from which to drink. Symbolically, Jacob’s well could only take one as far as the Law. It could never meet the deep need of the heart; a thirst for a new life, forgiveness, grace. Pastor Casey suggests we consider seven dispensations.
The Dispensation of:
1) Innocence- in the Garden of Eden, no knowledge of evil, only goodness
2) Conscience- after the fall, man was aware of evil, right and wrong
3) Government- managing man’s propensity to evil
4 )Promise- starts with the Abrahamic Covenant, promises of blessing
5) Law- the following of God’s rules- not personal, just follow the rules
6) Grace-Jesus fulfilled the Law; judgement served at the cross; we receive grace
7) Millennial Kingdom- the return of Christ to the Earth
A deeper look at our story shows that Jesus died under the dispensation of the Law, #5. He meets the woman at the well who has had five(5) husbands. She is looking for that which will transform her heart and mind, wash away her shame. The Law will never meet this need. Jesus offers a new source of water- Living Water, Himself. She is desperate, “give me this water”. We all are this woman-greatly in need of healing, newness, cleanness. We will never have this thirst quenched by Law. There are no works we can do to quench the deep need of our hearts. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, it matters what you do from now forward. Consider there is only one well that can satisfy the longing and thirst of the human heart- Listen as Pastor Casey encourages us to trust in the Lord Jesus.
Scripturereference: John 4:1-14
These are a couple of short encouraging words that followed the worship service. Dog lovers will especially appreciate one of the stories. (0:06)
Pastor Casey begins by sharing that a cut down tree often appears dead yet the scripture says at the scent of water, it could sprout again. Casey reminds us that often in the scripture water is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit may speak to us in different ways/languages, as water comes in different forms-dew; mist; oceans; rivers; wells… When we think God only speaks to us one way, we may be missing or not recognizing where we are or what God is speaking to us. We love it when God pours out His Spirit in our lives, but we can’t just chase and live under rain clouds. We may be in the Valley of Baca, Psalm 84:6, a place of weeping or bitterness, a hard place- a place we want to get out of- but it is a place to dig a well and bring forth water.
A well is not seasonal water, it is consistent, reliable. We need wells for the dry dusty seasons. Each of us needs to make our life a well. Pastor Casey encourages us to dig deep in God. Digging a well is hard work; removing dirt-digging things our of our life like misguided ideas. We must use faith to dig for water, to believe something is there when we cannot see it. Much of the digging is done in the dark, in the places that no one sees. Yet, it makes a great difference in our lives and our families when we dig deep in God.
Symbolically wells are generational blessings. We see this in the Old Testament as wells were passed down to sons and grandsons and on and on. Will our children inherit the same old enemies we never bothered to defeat (struggle in the valleys in which we never dug a well,) or rejoice in the victories/refreshing wells that we labored over? In the end, we see Job didn’t have the whole picture. In the New Testament we see God’s promise of our old life passing away, dying in Christ, becoming new in Christ and finally in Ephesians 3:14-21, we must be rooted and grounded in God’s love.