The River Returns: How to be Re-Filled With the Holy Spirit When You are Dry

Before, Dimboola Rowing Club 051108I was interested in the story of the Wimmera River, which returned to the town of Dimboola, Victoria this week. Severe drought in the region caused the river to dry up and it has not flowed through this particular township for five long years.

Excited residents rushed to get a view of the returning river as it marched into town, following heavy rains last week. The president of the local rowing club received a call in the early hours to say that the river had just passed the rowing sheds. He walked alongside it, escorting the river’s head as it approached the town.

Jesus said,
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit… (John 7:37-39)

I want to be filled with the Spirit, to be a Supernatural Christian, but at times all I can see in my life is a dry riverbed; traces of places where He has been and reminders of His Presence. During these times, it seems I have nothing left to give. I long to be connected again, but am not certain where to begin.

The story of the Wimmera River struck a chord with me because I, too, am enjoying a River’s return—an experience of spiritual renewal after a long dry period.

How can we experience a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit when we have been through a dry season? Here are some keys that I have discovered in my own journey:

1. Thirst

‘If anyone is thirsty’ (John 7:37)

I remarked to someone a couple of months ago, that one of the greatest tragedies in the church today is dryness without thirst.

When we are dry, we may engage in wishful thinking about being full of God again. Unless we are thirsty, we will never pursue God. Thirst—real desire—results in action.

Am I thirsty? Or am I just dry?

2. Get Personally Connected to Jesus

‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me’

Thirst motivated me to take action in two areas of my life. These were:

  1. Habits
    These are the self-centred things I indulge in instead of spending time with Jesus, or the things I turn to instead of Him to meet a need. Recently our pastor talked about ‘What is your drug of choice?’ Personal habits have included worry, work, late nights and time spent at the computer.
  2. Commitments
    These are the other-centred things that I do that take the best portion of my life and leave little time to connect with God. Responsibilities are hard to drop once you have taken them up. You just get busier and busier, then drier and drier.
    In my quest for the River’s return, no commitment is sacred. I am now doing less, focussing more, and learning to say ‘No.’

3. Find Out What Fills You and Do It

‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.’

We all have unique ways of connecting with and receiving from God. Mine invariably require After, Dimboola Rowing Club 081109solitude. In the great outdoors I connect with my Creator. Long walks by the water, praying and reflecting, fill me up. Times of Bible study, listening to worship and ‘soaking’—just being still before God in a receiving attitude—fill me with Him. These times and activities must be intentional, or they will never happen.

4. Ask

‘Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” ‘(John 4:10).

Sometimes, we have not because we ask not. When was the last time you asked Jesus to fill you with his Spirit? Why not stop and ask him right now.

We are all wired differently when it comes to connecting with God. If you have ideas and experiences, please share them as a comment below. I would love to hear about it—and someone else may benefit from your insights.

Let the River flow!


Related posts:

7 Signs Of Spiritual Dryness

7 Ways To Combat Spiritual Dryness

Spiritual Renewal: How to Receive an Impartation of the Holy Spirit

How to Discover Your Spiritual Pathway


©  Helen Calder   Enliven Blog

Photography © Junette Keefe   www.pictorialparadigm.com

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8 thoughts on “The River Returns: How to be Re-Filled With the Holy Spirit When You are Dry

  1. Hi Helen….Significant word for me at the moment. Have been reading a book by A W Towser called The Worship Driven Life. He says that we need the H/Spirit to offer worship.To crowd the spirit into a corner and ignore him, quench him, resist him and yet worship God acceptably is heresy, which needs correcting. Only the H/Spirit knows how to worship God acceptably..and then he goes on to quote Rom 8.26…..that’s what I read this morning, so this is just a note to keep going….it’s encouraging for me to read and know that it’s even relevant today….
    Love J

  2. Wow, that’s quite a revelation about worship and the Spirit, Janette. Very sobering thought and worth considering at length!
    Reminds me of Jesus’ words, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (Jn 4:24)

  3. Helen, once again, reading this, you have hit the nail on the head, or, the stone in the water!! I am challenged personally to find my River again. We slip so easily into what we think is a good Christian life without realising that we are, in fact, dry and need to be …….thirsty. Lets jump in that River together!!
    Malcolm.

  4. Hi Helen,
    What a powerful image and message you have presented here. It is certainly one that speaks to me right now as I start to press deeper in to God. So often, I appear to just sit on the edge, or, like the dry river bed, just rely on the evidence of God’s work in the past. Well, it is time to stop that and plunge in and swim with the current that is the Holy Spirit flowing in and through my life. I want to be swept along, not like a boat tossed and turned in a storm, but like the mighty river flowing with a definite purpose and direction towards a clear objective. A mighty message Helen. I pray that you continue to allow God to work through you.
    Michael

  5. A Word I have been pondering for the last two weeks, ties in with yours.
    John

    On Friday afternoon, two weeks ago,Scamp my 3 1/2 year old Jack Russell was killed by a large Rottweiler who lives in a cottage adjacent to the winery and vineyard where I work.
    I believe that God wants to use this episode as a warning to Christians and the Church.

    Scamp had free roam of the homestead, winery and the vineyard. He was an intelligent, fun loving, gentle, entertaining and loving dog. Scamp had earned the owners heart and was practically part of their family as well as ours, Everyone who knew Scamp fell in love with him.

    Scamp never entered the two neighbouring properties because they had large aggressive dogs.
    Yesterday afternoon Scamp was waiting to go home and was milling around the winery driveway which was adjacent to the neighbouring cottage. For his first time Scamp went into the cottage’s section and was attacked by the Rottweiler who crushed Scamps airpipe and killed him.
    What attracted scamp to the cottage was his appetite, He was like a Hoover vacuum cleaner and would clean up any food left around.
    The owner instead of feeding the Rottweiler at the front porch threw the food at the back adjacent to the winery drive way.
    It was Scamps appetite which lead him to a wrong decision which took him into the wrong place and this led him to his death.

    How does this apply to us?

    I believe that God is saying that we need to keep our appetites and carnal desires in check.

    Phil 3:18 – “For many walk, of whom I have told you often and now tell you even weeping that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame- who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly await for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    What we desire can cause our undoing and demise.
    It took Scamp one mistake which caused him to lose his life.
    Likewise every action we take have consequences, some good and some bad.

    1 Peter 5:8 – ” Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about alike a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”

    Tyson the Rottweiler found scamp in his owners section and then attacked him and killed him.

    Does this mean we need to fear the devil, no but it means we need to be careful in where we go and what we do. In Ephesians we are told not to give Satan a foothold in our lives. If we are doing the Father’s will He will protect us, but if we are doing our own thing then we can open ourselves up to demonic attack. God’s grace and mercy are so vital, if we find ourselves in error or out of kilter with God confession and repentance brings us right back into Father’s arms. We need to live a life of repentance and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

    What do we fill our hunger up with / how do we satisfy our appetite with?

    Our one and only desire needs to be pleasing to the Father. When we hunger there is always a large temptation to fill our appetites with anything, it may be either legitimate, moral or illegitimate and immoral. The only thing which can fill and satisfy our hunger is the Living Water, God Himself. Any other thing such as pursuing our destiny, ministry, family, work, worship etc all are good things but not is the main thing.
    God is wanting to be found, He will be found by those who diligently seek Him.

    Jeremiah 2:13 “For my people have committed two evils; They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and built themselves cisterns- broken cisterns that can hold no water”

    Our Father is calling us to forgo the cisterns we have built and come back to Him, the fountain of Living Water.

    John Begg

    John and Glenda Begg,
    Waimate Community Church,
    14 Gorge Rd,
    Waimate,
    South Canterbury,
    New Zealand.

  6. That’s a very vivid and memorable illustration John. Your thoughts about pursuing even the things that are ‘good’ but not ‘God’ is along the same lines as I’ve been processing lately.
    I REALLY want the Living Water, God’s Presence, more and more. Time to go after Him…
    And am so sorry to hear about Scamp, your family must miss him.

    • John Begg u wrote very well……every good idea is not God, s idea……my mentor teaches me that our greatest calling is to be the friend of God…..

  7. The news story on TV about the Wimmera River flowing again certainly created a lot of interest – you could sense the joy of the “locals”. Some travelled for miles to witness the sight, as they hadn’t seen the river flowing for many years! They were clearly excited about it!

    After a dry season in our lives we get excited when the ‘river starts to flow again’

    You make some really good points here – but one in particular I relate to is “Find Out What Fills You and Do It”.

    That’s a key for me and I’ve learned that when I practise that, from a “God perspective”,the streams of living water that Jesus spoke about start flowing inside me again.

    For me, things like deliberately taking some time out on my own with God (in the ‘great outdoors’),listening to worship CDs, watching Christian music DVDs or other Christian DVDs help get the ‘river flowing’ in me again. Then I am able to experience some wonderful “God moments” of love, fellowship and hearing from Him.