Scriptural Gem for January 2015

In Isaiah 35:5-7 we read: 'Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs.'

This passage above links with Luke 7:22 where Jesus answers John's question about whether He is the one they have been expecting. Jesus does not send a 'yes' or 'no' answer. Instead he says 'the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear...' When Jesus came, extraordinary things happened and so it is still in the life of every person who truly receives the living Christ into themselves today - they change in extraordinary ways as the life of Christ flows through them.

But let us take a closer look at the original language behind Isaiah 35:7 and in particular the last sentence: 'The burning sand will become a pool...' The word translated 'burning sand' is the Hebrew word 'Sharab' and there is a word in English which translates it perfectly. That word is 'Mirage'. Now we all know what a mirage in the desert is. It is an optical illusion which from a distance looks like water but upon closer investigation turns out to have no substance at all. A mirage raises hope but then dashes it to pieces. It promises the weary, thirsty traveller water but it turns out to be just an illusion. Personally I have found religious Christians to be exactly that way. They look good from a distance, they have all the right 'christian' words and phrases but upon closer examination of the person's life, there is no substance of the presence of Christ at all. The slightest bit of testing brings out a whole lot of awfulness.

This is what the prophet Isaiah addresses. When Christ comes, the mirage will become a real pool. This links so beautifully with John 7:38 where Jesus says about those who truly entrust themselves to Him: '...streams of living water will flow from within him'.

Religion can only produce a mirage. The life of Christ alone can make that mirage into a real pool. How about your Christianity dear friend... Is it a mirage of all the right Christian vocabulary and doctrine or is it a real pool where the thirsty finds the actual life of Christ, the genuine article - to their great delight and joy?

Precious Lord Jesus Christ, bring us to the end of ourselves so that you can enter in and transform our 'christian mirages' into real pools. Amen.

Werner Schreiber