The eternal feasting from Thanksgiving to Christmas has begun to catch up with me (it’s not just you, promise). This pre-New Year’s week (and it’s bloating) is often cited by many as their week of revelation and insight into the preparations of what they might change in the upcoming year. While any time – month, day, or hour – is welcome to change, this week I will be focusing on some resolutions presented to us in the continued reading in the prophecy of Zecheriah, the Revelation of John, and the beginnings of Matthew. While many of the passages are filled with prophetic, symbolic, end-time images, I will try to remain focused on the big picture: the message or warning presented in the passages. Our eyes should be open, our ears listening, and our spirit attune to the world around us, not only because we become reflective as our year draws to an end, but because the drum roll quickens towards the end of this present evil age. We should hasten our efforts, not to simply shed a few holiday pounds, start a new hobby, or get organized, but to make changes and to carry on efforts that will make lasting impacts in the Kingdom of God.
Speaking of eternal things, did you know, Kool-Aid, when stored properly, really doesn’t expire? It is a seemingly innocent drink, yet there is a crushing idiom out there beckoning people not to partake in the consumption of this perpetual potion: You might hear an older generation say, “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid ”. This expression actually means don’t believe everything you hear, especially because it presents a very real threat. It might seem that the origins of this phrase refer to the high sugar content, the unnatural color, or the artificial flavor of the name brand fruit drink of childhood and beyond. It is true, there isn’t much wholesome about this drink (sorry, grape. I still love you tho); however, this isn’t where our figurative turn of phrase is born. Instead, the origin is far more tragic than the attack on our blood-sugar. The notorious event is referred to as the 1978 Jonestown Massacre, where hundreds of innocent men, women, and children died by drinking, or being forcibly injected, with a combination of Flavor-Aid and poison. This presents a more tragic history behind the coinage, but draws a parallel to today’s reading in both Zechariah and Revelation. The words below remind me that there is a great coming (or even present) evil, or a more perilous and poisoned Kool-aid that is brewing and being passed as legitimate name-brand Gospel.
“I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.” – Revelation 17:6
The prostitute on the beast paints an ironically sobering picture, becoming intoxicated on the blood of saints and lying with the kings of the earth. Those who take part in this great debauchery against God, may do so willingly, but it seems many do so unwittingly, astonished and deceived by the spectacles of ungodly power (v.8) . There will be those who are not in the Lamb’s Book of Life who attend churches, have ministries, and even blog about Christ, but give-in to tinted truths, sweet lies, and god-like power, because it is a more “palatable” gospel, requiring less real change and more gratification. The love, justice, mercy that take root in another source other than our Heavenly Father, may look pretty, taste sweet, and have some of the same notes, but it is filled with poison. It will never quench your thirst. It is just empty calories leading you closer to death. Stop the endless following, swiping, and double-tapping – look up. Turn off the continuous bombardment of the news cycle – look up. Quit chasing after causes that don’t lead to the saving Gospel message of Christ – look up. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.
Now, this begs the question, what then should we drink? Coffee! Wrong. Tea? Still wrong. Soda? Getting colder. Simply, water. No beans, no leaves, no syrup, no colors, no nonsense straight-from-the-tap water. It is what your body is craving, essential to every major function in your body, beginning at the cellular level. Among many other things, water aids in digestion, stabilizes the heart, regulates blood pressure, flushes away the toxins, and provides protection to the day-to-day function of our organs and joints. Such is true for our Living Water, the Gospel message and the Spirit of God present in our daily walk.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14
“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” – John 7:37-39
While there is a metaphor to be drawn for each of these literal benefits, there is an inherent advantage, understood or not, from consuming water. Yes, we are trying to flush away perpetuated falsehoods, but drinking living water in and of itself is simply refreshing. Make time for God’s Word. Worship Him in your car. Honor Him with your time. Live out the Gospel through actions and bear the testimony of Jesus Christ. Resolve to fill your tumbler and carry it wherever you go because there are so many ready to make the switch from the Kool-Aid to the quenching Living Water.