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Feeling Empty

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The year was 2009. Annual Conference for the Church of the Brethren was in San Diego, California. After watching Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Summer Vacation, I wanted to take my family across the country visiting the greatest landmarks in the United States. The St. Louis Arch, Four Corners, Pike’s Peak, Garden of the Gods, Arches National Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Giant Sequoias were just a few of the locations we would experience on our 6351 mile trip. The beauty of God’s creation, the inspiration of His construction, the power of his mighty hand was evident in every location. It was easy to see that what man has the power to make in no way compares to the beauty of God’s creation.

It was day five of our journey when we pulled into Hoover Dam. My wife, Peggy, and I had been there many years earlier. Because of our visit, I had a great desire to show my kids what I had seen. We drove across the dam slowly, looked at the water to the left and the river to the right. Well, I looked at the water and the river but my kids were still looking at their Nintendo DS screens. We pulled into the parking garage, put the DS games away, and began our journey. I started telling them about the experience we had the years before; like they were really interested, and then it happened. I looked at Lake Mead and noticed how the water level had changed from 1998 to 2009. You could see how much it had dropped. In a study done by the by the United States Bureau of Reclamation, water levels from 1998 to 2009 showed a decline in water levels by 108 feet. In 1998 the water level at Hoover Dam was 1212 feet above sea level. When we arrived at Hoover Dam just eleven years later the water level was only 1104 feet above sea level. The visual was shocking. On the tour, our guide told us how the water usage of Las Vegas and Los Angeles was pulling water out of Lake Mead in record proportion. He shared about the Aqua Duct system that was being built to take more water out of Lake Mead simply because of the number of people that were moving into Las Vegas. He also shared how snow fall totals were less than adequate in the previous ten years to fill Lake Mead with the run off.

The information given to us was astounding. My mind, however, was no longer thinking about Lake Mead. Instead, I had a vision of what my ministry was like. I saw people we did not have enough spiritual water to get them through the tough times of life. I say families that did not have a reservoir of wisdom to know how to raise children. I saw Christians that for years were living off of my spiritual life and not developing one of their own. It thought about the words of Christ to the woman at the well. In John 4:10, Jesus says, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asked you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." Living water; that is what people need, they need a reservoir of living water.

My mind wondered back into the tour just long enough for me to hear these words from our tour guide, “If the rate of depletion remains the same, and the snow levels in the mountains do not increase, there will not be enough water to turn the generators and produce power in 2021.”  There was the problem. If people kept depleting their spiritual resources and did not fill themselves up with God's word, prayer, worship, fellowship, small groups, and the like; their power would be exhausted and soon their would be nothing left spiritual to draw from. Children would  spiritually perish, marriages would end, relationships would be taxed, and the love of many would grow cold. The spiritual reservoirs of life were being filled with the wrong things and it was taking its tole on me and on many others.

 

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