The Amazon River is the mightiest river in the world. With a discharge that averages 7.4 million cubic feet per second (CFS), more water flows from the Amazon than from the next seven largest rivers combined. In fact, the Amazon accounts for 20% of all fresh water that enters the oceans.
From its massive mouth (which is 120 miles wide) it shoots forth an enormous plume of freshwater into the Atlantic 250 miles long and up to 124 miles wide. Historically, ships sailing up and down the Atlantic Coast have found the Amazon’s freshwater where no land is in sight. This source of fresh water, so far out at sea, has saved many a ship’s crew from thirst.
Yet in 2011 a prominent professor of geology announced the existence of another river – 13,000 feet beneath the Amazon. The subterranean Hamza River differs dramatically from the Amazon. First, its dimensions are much bigger than the Amazon. While the Amazon ranges from half a mile to 62 miles wide, the Hamza is 120 to 250 miles wide. Yet its flow is only a fraction of the Amazon’s – about 110,000 CFS.
But the biggest difference between the Amazon and its underground sister is that one is fresh and the other is intensely saline. While one discharges fresh (though muddy) water into the ocean, the other sends forth bitter water, though at a much deeper level.
This dichotomy of waters, freshwater above and bitter water below, parallels a spiritual reality. Every human being is plagued by something the Bible refers to as “the sinful nature” (i.e. “the flesh”). It is something we inherited from humanity’s original parents, Adam and Eve. When they sinned in the garden by disobeying God’s commandments, both their physical and spiritual natures were corrupted (Genesis 3:1-19). They inevitably passed on their corrupted nature to their children – the whole of humanity (Romans 5:12-21).
This is the real reason there is greed, hatred, war, and death in our world. The events of the 20th Century clearly demonstrated that no matter how educated, enriched, and cultured a society may become, evil is still present within its people. And despite our best intentions to adhere to a moral code, there is still a bitter undercurrent within us that sabotages all the good we hope to achieve. Though we try to produce waters that are sweet, there remains a bitter outflow.
Our one hope of redemption is in Jesus Christ. Through His atoning death and resurrection, all who embrace Him by faith will experience a new birth (John 3:3-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:3, 23). This rebirth begins in our spirit (i.e. our “heart” or “inner man”). By His own death Christ crucifies the “old man” – the old sinful self (Romans 6:3-11). And by His resurrection He recreates a new person on the inside (Romans 8:9-17; Colossians 2:11-14). In the language of the Old Testament, God performs on us a “spiritual circumcision” (Deuteronomy 30:6). When we believe, God takes out of us our “heart of stone” and replaces it with a “heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Only Jesus can perform this miracle within us. Only His blood can cleanse us from our sins (1 John 1:7-10). Only the gift of His Holy Spirit can transform our inner person and renew it day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16-17; Philippians 2:13; Titus 3:5-6).
We will still struggle with sin – as long as the “reborn” inner man is trapped within the old, decaying outer man (Romans 7:15-25). But it’s no longer a hopeless, losing battle. For our struggle against sin will end when physical death comes. And our salvation will be consummated when the old body is raised incorruptible (Romans 8:18-25; 1 Corinthians 15:35-57).
Only Jesus Christ can conquer that bitter undercurrent within us. Only He can create pure and holy desires in our hearts to replace the impure and evil. Invite Jesus into your heart and life. Let Him transform you from the inside out.
Dear Lord Jesus, to You I open the door of my heart. Please come into my heart and take possession of my life. Cleanse me from all my sins. Transform my sin-sick heart. Renew me day by day and make me fit for heaven, I pray. Amen.