“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1Cor. 10:4)
In these Scriptures we see how God brought water out of the rock in the Old Testament and that rock was symbolic of the Rock that is Jesus Christ.
Jesus teaches us that the water which came forth from the Rock in the wilderness and became a life-saving river able to quench the thirst of over a million Israelites is symbolic of the river of the Holy Ghost that is within us.
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39)
David speaks of this river in the Psalms,
“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.” (Psalm 46:4)
The Apostle John saw this river in his vision of the city of New Jerusalem, and in the same way that Jesus is the Light of that city, the Holy Ghost is the life-giving River in its midst.
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Rev. 22:1)
The Prophet Ezekiel prophesied of this river in greater detail, and through his prophecy we gain a greater understanding of Christ in us as the Rock and the River of the Holy Ghost flowing out of Him.
“And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.” (Eze. 47:3)
“Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.” (Eze. 47:4)
“Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.” (Eze. 47:5)
The prophet talked of the river to the ankles. This is the initial touch of the Holy Spirit upon our lives. This is where the current begins to tug at our ankles and pull us in the direction of the flow. Jesus said that that no man would come to Him unless the Father draw him (John 6:44). Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you.” (John 15:16)
The prophet talked of the water to the knees. After Jesus rose from the grave, He appeared to the disciples, breathed on them, and said, “Receive Ye the Holy Ghost.” (John 20:22) This is that born again experience that Jesus spoke of in the third chapter of the Gospel of John.
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5-6)
We are in the water to our knees. The river has half of our legs, and we have the other half. The Holy Spirit is directing us one way, but we have the power to go the other. This is where many Christians find themselves today.
They have been born again and the Holy Spirit has come inside of them. They are like the disciples who Jesus breathed upon and said, “Receive Ye the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit is directing them to go one way but their common sense and will are directing them another, and sadly the common sense will usually win. This is why Jesus told the disciples to “tarry in Jerusalem.”
They had already received the Holy Spirit in them, now they needed to be endued with power. They needed to be filled with the Holy Ghost. They needed to come out into the river to the loins.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:1-2)
“And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:3-4)
There are those theologians who will say that at the point of salvation we receive all of the Holy Spirit that there is. That may be true. But if we rightly divide the Word of God, we can see that there are two distinct encounters with the Holy Ghost.
There is the point that we receive Him, and there is the point when we are filled with Him.
Those same theologians will say that no second experience with the Holy Spirit is necessary. However, Jesus knew that it was necessary to the point that he commanded His disciples not to begin their Great Commission until they had received it.
The early Church knew that this power from on high was so necessary that whenever they encountered believers who had not received it, they made sure that they were filled with the Holy Ghost also.
“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:” (Acts 8:14-15)
“(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:16-17)
We see this again in the Book of Acts when the Apostle Paul meets some believers who had not yet received the Holy Ghost,
“He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” (Act 19:2)
“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:6)
As we look at the prophecy of Ezekiel concerning the river, we see that each depth must be reached first before we can go further. We cannot just jump out into the deepest part and receive the fullness of the river, the fullness of the anointing and power of God.
We must first be drawn by the Spirit, the waters to the ankles. We must be born again, the waters to the knees. We must be filled with the Holy Ghost, the waters to the loins or the waist.
Now we are out in the water to our waist. The current of the river has control of our legs and is pulling us in the right direction. We are being led by the Spirit of God, but we are still standing on our feet.
Before we can have the faith to take the next step and launch out into the waters to swim in, to leap out into the full force of the current and the depth of the power of God, we need to realize the purpose of the river.
Why do we need to go out into the deep?
We need to go out into the deep so that we might receive the fullness of the Holy Ghost and live daily in His power. This is the power to be a faithful and powerful witness. This is the power to change and be conformed to the image of Christ.
The purpose of the power is so that we may be witnesses. Sometimes this may involve miracles, signs, and wonders. But more often than not it involves the demonstration of the power of a changed and holy life.
Jesus told Peter, “When thou art converted (changed), strengthen thy Brethren.” (Luke 22:32)
Peter, so fearful for his own life that he denied the Lord three times, was changed by the power of the Holy Ghost to the extent that when he was arrested and sentenced to die, he slept so soundly the night before his execution that the angel had to slap him on the side to wake him up before he could be delivered. (Acts 12:7)
The Apostle Peter wrote to the gentile women that had become Christians after already being married to unbelievers, that with their Godly lifestyle they could win their husbands to Christ without preaching to them. (1 Peter 3:2)
The purpose of the power is to change. The purpose for going out into the deepest part of the river of God is so that you will surrender your control completely to the Holy Spirit.
Your feet no longer touch the bottom. You are swept along whithersoever the current of the Spirit of God desires to take you.
John the Baptist said of Jesus, “He must increase but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
When we cast ourselves out into the deep, we are completely surrendering every part of ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit. We are holding nothing back. No sin, no habit, no personal desire, no preconceived notion or idea, nothing.
Only when we empty ourselves of ourselves do we become an empty vessel that He can daily fill for His glory.
“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2Tim. 2:21)
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2Cor. 4:7)
When we surrender every recess of our being to the power of the Holy Spirit for change, then every act we do in His name will come from a pure heart with pure intentions. Miracles, signs, and wonders will occur when needed and God, not ourselves, will receive the glory; and others, not ourselves will be helped.
When we make this decision for total surrender, then we are ready to leap out into the deep and the River in us will truly be “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.