In days of old, in another culture, a young man was searching for the way of goodness, truth, and salvation. He went to a master, who took him down to a river. The master put the student’s head into the water. At first, the young man wondered if this was some type of baptism. But when the master continued to hold his head under the water longer and longer, the student began to panic.
As he tried to lift his head, the master pressed down with great strength. There was a great struggle. The master finally let the student come out of the water. Coughing and gasping for air, the student asked, “Why?” The master asked, “When you thought you were drowning, what did you desire most?” The student answered, “Air!” The master said, “When you crave God’s goodness as much as you craved air, you will be living the way of God’s goodness, truth, and salvation.”
This seems to be an impossible task, and we can’t, in fact, do this on our own. So God gives us the Holy Spirit so that we can accomplish this lofty work. God’s very Spirit gives us the strength, the wisdom, the know-how to be God’s presence in the world.
In the original language, the word in the Bible for “Spirit” is “breath.” The Holy Spirit is the breath of God. When we crave God’s Holy Spirit, when we breathe the very breath of God, we will be living the way of God’s goodness, truth, and salvation.
To prevent spiritual drowning, we crave God’s Spirit, which is ALWAYS available! When I recently gave a sermon on this topic, we sang the old hymn “Shall We Gather at the River.” Summarizing this devotion into a paraphrase of that hymn, I’m singing now: “When we gather at the river, we’ll be filled with the Spirit of God!”