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The Rhythmic Spring at Swift Creek, near Afton, Wyoming is one of only a hundred such cold water springs on the entire planet. And the one at Swift Creek is the largest of them all.

A rhythmic spring (AKA ebb and flow spring, intermittent spring, and breathing spring) is one that virtually turns on and off at regular intervals. The Rhythmic Spring at Swift Creek runs for about fifteen minutes, then shuts down for fifteen minutes before the cycle begins again. When it runs, it gushes enough water to fill a cascading creek. When it ceases, all the water disappears.

What causes this rhythmic turning on and turning off of water? Scientists aren’t exactly sure. But the best theory put forth so far is that behind the spring is a cavern which is fed from several sources. From the base of the cavern stretches a narrow tube which first bends upward and then, at the apex, curves downward to the spring. Water steadily feeds into the chamber. As the water level in the cavern exceeds the height of the apex of the tube, it creates a siphon effect, sucking water out of the cavern. Then, when the water in the chamber is emptied, air enters the tube and stops the siphon effect.

This cycle repeats itself about every thirty minutes. Water fills the chamber, its level exceeds the apex of the tube and siphons out to empty the chamber and fill the creek again. The water flows in the creek for about fifteen minutes. Then, for fifteen minutes, it slows to a tiny trickle as the cavern refills.

This Rhythmic Spring parallels something in the Christian believer’s life. Their “inner chamber” (their heart, their spirit) needs repeated and regular refilling if they ever hope to have an outflow of Christian service in their lives. And they need this repeated infilling, not only to empower them for Christian service. They need it to survive the taxing and draining trials of life.

Christian believers require times of reflection in the presence of God and with His word so that they can be replenished for whatever challenges God has in store for them. They need to be nurtured by His word and filled with God’s Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16).

Just as this spring’s inner chamber had to be filled with water before it could begin the siphoning effect, even so our inner chamber must be filled with God’s Spirit and with His holy word before power and blessing can pour forth from us to bless others and to sustain our faith under the onslaught of fiery trials.

Even Jesus spent hours in prayer – sometimes through the entire evening – before going forth to minister to God’s people and cast out demons (Luke 3:21; 4:42; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28-29; 11:1). Rather than depending exclusively on His divine authority over illnesses and demons, Jesus subjected Himself to a life of dependence upon the Holy Spirit. This is why there are no miracles of Jesus until after He was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38; Isaiah 42:1; 61:1-3).

And spending long periods of time in prayer, when He’d be empowered by God’s Spirit, was essential to the execution of His ministry. In fact, on at least one occasion Jesus told the disciples, “this kind (of demon) cannot come out by anything but prayer” (Mark 9:29). Jesus had to spend time with His Father in prayer – drawing strength and power from His presence before facing the battles of the next day. Every servant of Christ needs to realize this. Merely being educated in the Bible, comparative religions, and apologetics is not enough. We must personally connect and communicate with God.

Do you remember what happened to the Jewish exorcists who tried to exercise authority over a demon by using both Christ’s and Paul’s name. They attempted to cast a demon out of a man by saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches to come out of this man” (Acts 19:13). But the demon, speaking through the possessed man, replied, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15). Then, the Scripture tells us, “the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:16).

Jesus does not lend His name to just anyone to use as an incantation. Only those who are submitted to His lordship and who know Him personally will have authority in His name. James gives us the correct priority, “Submit, therefore, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7). Our lives must be in subjection to the Son of God. And as a servant waits upon his master – giving him his undivided attention – to hear his voice and learn his will, so the believer in Christ must wait upon Jesus to draw from Him guidance, inspiration, and divine power to execute His will.

As the branch must draw life from the vine in order to produce fruit, so believers in Jesus must stay connected to and draw life from Christ to produce the fruit of the Spirit (John 15:1-5; Galatians 5:22-23). “For apart from Me,” Jesus said, “you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

And to find power and strength to face the coming agonies of the cross, Jesus again spent the night in prayer (Luke 22:40-45). Hebrews 9:14 tells us that it was “through the eternal Spirit” that Christ offered Himself up as a perfect sacrifice to God. And it is only through the infilling of the Holy Spirit that we can find strength for those fiery ordeals through which God calls us to walk.

Friend, the path God has for you may take you through fire or flood (Isaiah 63:1-3). In those times God will surely be with you, but you must also draw strength from Him and be filled with His presence (Ephesians 5:18). The same is true if God calls you to be a blessing, to help, and to witness to others. Only by the power of His Holy Spirit can you be that witness and blessing to others (Acts 1:8). Without Him you can do nothing.


PRAYER:  Dear Lord Jesus, please draw me into a closer walk with you. Like that spring that must have its inner chamber constantly replenished, fill me with Your Spirit and feed me from Your holy word. Develop in me, O Lord, a deep and vibrant devotional life, so that I’ll be able to face any conflict, any trial, and any opportunity to serve You. Amen.


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