One of the most amazing aspects of God’s provision on planet earth is the water cycle. Ocean waters supply solar evaporation. Atmospheric air circulation transports water vapor to all seven continents. Condensation and precipitation provide fresh water to land, plant, animal, and man. Whatever the use, this same water finds it way back to its oceanic source via highways of streams and rivers. Physical life on our planet and for the human body depends on proper hydration. A lack of water would mean almost sudden death.
As physical life is supported by a steady supply of water, so too is the spiritual life of the church supported by a steady supply of the Word of God. For the local church, preaching serves as the headwaters where the Word of God is poured out to each part of the body assembled as one on the Lord’s Day. In a water cycle type way, the preacher functions in a weekly supply of the Word God’s people so desperately depend on for their spiritual life and health.
Each Monday I come again to God’s oceanic supply of truth—the Word of God. Monday through Thursday I ask for light and heat from the Holy Spirit to transport the Word from the written page to my mind and heart. As I process and pray I ask for the Holy Spirit to guide my understanding so that the Word I’ve processed can be properly precipitated on the people I’ve been given to serve in just the right way. As I preach, I’m cognizant of the fact that only God can truly make it rain. Only God can take His Word and penetrate the human heart. After the sermon, during the invitation, and as I drive home, I find myself praying that the precipitated Word would soak in deep. I pray that it would be absorbed, used, and applied properly. I pray that it would not only soak those who hear but that they would then splash others throughout the week. I pray that the Word preached would drive people back to the oceanic source from which it came. Simultaneously, I pray that the water of the Word quenches the people’s thirst while also creating a thirst for more.
As pastors, we edify the body most by watering it well with the Word. Faithfully, preaching the Word of God to the people of God hydrates their lives with what they need most. Every believer has been born again by the living and enduring Word of God (1Pet 1:23). The universe itself is being upheld by the mighty Word of His power (Heb 1:3). The Word of God is our bread of life that sanctifies us and points us to Christ (Matt 4:4; John 5:39; 2Tim 3:16–17).
Before they sinned in the Garden of God, I am not sure how often Adam and Eve ate of the fruit from the tree of life. Surely, they had some regular rhythm or cycle. It was the supernaturalness of this tree’s fruit that physically sustained their lives. In the same way, it is the supernaturalness (God-breathed-ness) of the Word of God that sustains our lives spiritually. God’s people must partake of it regularly—both individually and corporately.
Preachers and pastors, we are responsible for the spiritual hydration of the local church God has given us to serve. We wash her, build her, strengthen her, grow her, mature her, perfect her, and prepare her for Christ as we cyclically hydrate her each Sunday with the Word. Do you daily swim and soak in the ocean waters of the Word? Ocean swimming can be incredibly labor-intensive. No wonder Paul admonished young Timothy to present himself as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2Tim 2:15). What steps do you need to take in order to improve your swimming (handling of the Word)? Do you need to learn to swim? Do you need to wade in deeper? The ocean can certainly be intimidating but come on in! The water is truly great!
Kyle Walker is the Pastor of Cartersville First Baptist Church in Cartersville, Georgia.