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    February 24, 1899

    “The Water of Life” General Conference Daily Bulletin 8.


    E. J. Waggoner

    Discourse by Dr. E. J. Waggoner, Tuesday, February 21.

    Christ the Fountain of Life — The River of Life a Real Stream — The Earth Watered by It — Righteousness from the Clouds — Drinking the Life of God — The Cleansing Power of the Life — Eating and Drinking in the Presence of God.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.1

    “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.”GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.2

    Now suppose that some poor, simple-minded person, who had just at that moment arrived, after a long journey, and was footsore, travel-stained, weary, and thirsty, had come into the temple at that moment, and had heard this voice, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink,” and he had come up and said, “I want a drink,” do you suppose he would have got what he wanted? or would the Saviour have said, O, my dear fellow, you made a mistake; I did not mean what I said to be taken literally? Would he not have been obliged to say that with some shame?GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.3

    Now God has a right to expect that when he speaks, people will take him at his word. Why? Suppose a father offers something to his child; and the child believes the father, and says, Yes, I will take that; and then the father says to the child, I did not mean that. That would be embarrassing; because the child honored the father by believing that he could not say anything but what he meant.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.4

    Now I want all to see that the Lord Jesus Christ meant exactly what he said, — that we can come to him and drink, — and if that day there had been in the temple a man so simple-hearted that he thought this meant those who wanted a drink, then the Lord would have given it to him right there. He would have had what he wanted; and in the drink that he got, he would have received more than any one else could see in the water.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.5

    “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light.”GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.6

    The word “pleasure” in the ninth verse is “Eden” in the original. “Eden” means “pleasure,” or “delight.” So the text really says, “Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thine Eden.”GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.7

    “He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God; and the Lamb — the Sparkling water, wasn’t it? We are familiar with that term. You who have lived in the mountains know more about it than those who have lived on the plains. You know what living, sparkling water is. And this water that flows from the throne of God is the life of God; and the life is the life of men. Then it is sparkling water, isn’t it? In that light shall we see light. It is God’s own life flowing from his throne. Do you believe there is any such thing? Is there a real river flowing from the throne just now? Yes. Where does it flow? A river that flows must go somewhere. Here is a throne, and from it is gushing every moment, and has been from the days of eternity, and will be until the eternity of eternities, a river of life, flowing on and on, without stopping. It is the river of life. Where does it go?GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.8

    It is a real river. If we were there, I suppose we could see it. Some would, and some would not; but it is a river that may be seen, felt, drank from, and bathed in. The real thing is flowing. Where from? — From the throne of God and of the Lamb.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.9

    “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them into living fountains of water.” Where is the Lamb? — In the midst of the throne. “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain.”GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.10

    In order that we may have an object-lesson, let this desk represent the throne of God. From it flows the river. It is the throne of God; and the Lamb — the slain Lamb — is in the midst of the throne; and from the throne is that everflowing stream of life.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.11

    “Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs; but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true; and he knoweth that he saith truth, that ye might believe.”GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.12

    That was an important thing. See with what detail and emphasis it was stated. “He that saw it bare record, and the record is true, and he knows that it is true.” There came out blood and water from the side of the Lamb that was slain; and the blood is the life, isn’t it? So on the cross Christ gave his life for us. His life has always been given for us; and the cross is merely the manifestation that that life has been given. That one instant when he hung there between the heavens and the earth, offered for man, was a revelation of the eternal glory of God, that he has always given his life to man. The blood came from Jesus that men might see that he has given his life for them. There was the water and the blood. One saw that, and he bare record, and we know his record is true. And there are three that bare record, — the Spirit, and the water, and the blood. And the three agree in one. All are life; the Spirit is life, because of righteousness; the blood is the life, and the water is the water of life, flowing out from the side of the Crucified One.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.13

    Jesus said at one time, “Destroy this temple, and in three days, I will raise it up,” and then the Jews began to find fault with him: but he spoke of the temple of his body, for he had said, “Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.”GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.14

    When the tabernacle was built, it was a very feeble representation of the true sanctuary, which the Lord pitched, and not man. There was an ark in the innermost place, and upon that ark where cherubim; and from between the cherubim the glory of God shined forth, indicating that that was a representation of the throne of God, who sits between the cherubim. But underneath the cherubim were the tables of the law, showing that righteousness is the foundation of his throne; the law of God is in the very midst of the throne. But the law of God was in the heart of Christ, showing that his heart was the throne of God; so that when he hung upon the cross, God’s heart was pierced, and from that place where the law dwelt there flowed out the stream of life. What was it? — The pure river of the water of life, flowing from the Crucified One. And the stream that flows this minute from the throne of God, is just as real a stream as was the water and the blood that flowed from the heart of Christ, and it is the life of God. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life from that flowing stream. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” Christ spoke this of the Spirit; therefore that stream of life which flows from the throne of God is simply the Spirit of God, flowing out into all the world. The Spirit and life of God are therefore flowing forth.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.15

    “Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.” If we were there at the side of the throne, some would see the river, and some would not see it. He who has his eyesight trained to discern spiritual things would see the stream flowing. The man who is not spiritual would not see anything. One might say, “O, I see the bright and sparkling water flowing from the throne of God;” and another would reply, “I can not see it.” Did you ever hear people say, “I can not see it”? When a man can not see, what is the matter with him? — He is blind. Then, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, ... and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see,” — not to be blind. The man who is spiritual would discern the water of life flowing from the throne of God, and would see the Spirit of God. Why does the world not receive the Spirit of God? The Lord tells us why. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth; whom the world can not receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” The world does not receive the Spirit of God, because it does not see him; and these natural eyes never can see him. But the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened by the Spirit of God, so that we can see him: and then when you and I learn to see the Spirit of God with the eyes of the understanding that are enlightened by the Spirit, then the Spirit which dwells in us will quicken our mortal bodies, and by and by make a complete transformation, by giving us a spiritual body, when our eyes will see even the Spirit of God. But we must now have spiritual eyesight with which to discern things, in order that the body may be made spiritual, because there is no use of a spiritual body for a man who is not spiritual; when a man gets spiritual, the Lord will give him a body to correspond.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.16

    When the children of Israel were in the desert, where there was no water, they became thirsty, and they murmured. They said: “What kind of general is this Moses, who has brought us out here, with all this army and all these cattle, where there is no water?” The very first qualification required of a general is for him to know how and where to find good camping-places. What good is a general, no matter how perfect he may be in other ways, if he can not take care of his men, and give them something to eat and drink? Men must have good camping-places; for they can not fight or live without water; so one of the principal requirements in a general is that he be able to look ahead for camping-places where there is a stream of water. But this man Moses — well, anybody who knows anything would know better than to bring a company of people out into this place. He just brought us out here to kill us, instead of giving us the victory. We could have died just as well in Egypt as here. In Egypt there were graves in which to bury us; but here our carcasses will fall, and they will not be buried.” But Moses did not bring them there. The Lord did that, and he knew there was not water there. But that made no difference. He wanted them to learn this lesson, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” He brought them there, that they might be in the very place of that man whom we spoke of as coming into the temple and asking Jesus for water. Water could not be obtained by digging in the wilderness, because there was just hard, dry, barren soil all the way down. It looked like a hopeless case. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take some of the elders, and go to the rock in Horeb, and I will stand upon the rock.” You know what Horeb is. It is the mountain of God. The law was spoken from there. The Lord told Moses to go to Horeb, and smite the rock. Moses did that, and the water ran in dry places like a river. They all drank; they stooped down and bathed in it; they cooled their parched faces and tongues; they led their cattle to it to drink; they refreshed themselves in the water that flowed from the rock, — but they forgot God, their Rock. “Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.17

    The Israelites drank real water from the rock, and it was all they had to drink for years; they camped right there in that spot for a full year. So even though we limit ourselves to that year, there was no other water except that which came from that rock, and they drank from that. “They all did eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ.” Then they drank right from Christ. When he told Moses to smite the rock for water, he said, in effect, what Jesus afterward said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” “He, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” And they came, and drank spiritual drink, but they died at last of thirst. And why? — Because they forgot God their Rock. We have the same lesson before us. Those persons actually drank water from the body of Christ, but they did not recognize the marvelous miracle that was wrought among them. We imagine that they could not think of anything else. But we can better understand the matter when we remember that a long time afterward, when Jesus was in the desert, and fed his people with bread that came directly from himself, multiplying it till five thousand or more were fed, within twenty-four hours they said, If you would only show us a miracle! What sign do you show, that we may believe on you? When we read that, we can readily understand how the children of Israel in the desert could forget the miracle that had been performed there.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 79.18

    Some of you may soon pass Niagara Falls, and as you gaze you may wonder where all the water that pours over that precipice comes from, and where it goes. Why is not the source exhausted, or the earth overflowed? “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” Where do they come from? — The water comes from away up yonder in the hills. Why doesn’t it run dry? — Because it comes from the heavens, in the clouds. The clouds drop down water abundantly; and it fills the earth, and then flows forth. Where did the clouds get the water? — It evaporated from the earth, and they became filled with water. Then the earth gave it to the clouds, and the clouds gave it to the earth. But which originated it, — the earth or the clouds? You see that is just as far as any scientific textbook takes us. But that is not satisfactory at all. Now read the true scientific answer: “Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it; thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water; thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly; thou settlest the furrows thereof; thou makest it soft with showers.”GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.1

    Thank the Lord that the river of God is full of water, and never runs dry. It is always running. Do you not see? The rain comes down from heaven, filters down from the river of God. You and I have drunk from the rock, and have forgotten God the Rock. We have been drinking from the life of God all our lives, and have not known it. We are just as bad as were the Israelites. They were forty years in the wilderness, drinking from the fountain of life, from Christ, — spiritual water; and there are men in the earth to-day who have been twice forty years drinking from that same fountain, and have never given praise for it. Spiritual water will make a man spiritual when he takes it as such; for it is the life of God. The Israelites did not take it by faith, and they died.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.2

    How near is the Lord, and how real are these things! yet we have been living in an unreal world. The things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are unseen are eternal. That which is for only a little while is the unreal thing. It is the unseen thing that will endure. Therefore we want to get out of this unreal world, which exists for only these mortal eyes, to see and live in the real, the unseen, world. Then we shall be able to see, to all eternity, things that wicked men can never see.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.3

    We have a drink of water here, — living water. Where does it come from? — The throne of God, where Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain, is. It flows from his heart. It is the blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin. The blood of Christ is a real thing.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.4

    That water which flows from the throne of God is his life, and his life is the light. “If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another; and the blood of the Son of God cleanses us from all sin.” Is that a real thing? or is it only a figurative expression, — a mere form of words? Can we actually bathe in the blood of Christ, and live by it? — Yes; for what is the blood? — It is the life. The life is in the blood. By whatever means Christ conveys the life to us, that is the blood, the life. He gives it to us. It does not necessarily have to be always in one form. There are innumerable forms in which life is conveyed to us; but it is all the one life. Remember, the Spirit and the water and the blood agree in one; they all come to one.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.5

    Water is life, and it has life-giving powers. The River Seine receives all the sewage of the city of Paris. No small amount of filth goes into that river every day; yet the water of life is powerful enough to cleanse all the filth of Paris. It can do that, and here is the evidence: all the refuse, waste, filth — the sewage of every sort of that vast city — go into the River Seine; but forty miles below, there is not a trace of impurity. The water is just as pure, sparkling, and life-giving as any water in the world. It is running, living water.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.6

    This marvelous property is just the same as that of the air. You want to get away from dead, stagnant air; the wind begins to blow, and it becomes fresh. We say, “What a fine thing this wind is! It will blow away the disease germs, and will purify everything.” O, the life swallows up death! We all come, putting death into this great ocean of life, which swallows it up, so that we live. All about us is death, disease; and it is swallowed up by the air, and we live. The filth is brought into the living water; it flows, and men say it works itself pure. That is as well as we can express it. But whence comes that water — the River Seine, or any other river? — From the throne of God. It is living, flowing water, and the fact that water gives life to us when we drink it; the fact that water refreshes our bodies when we put it upon them; the fact that water has wonderful healing properties, not only when we take it within us, but when we put it upon our bodies; the fact that water cleanses the impurities from our bodies when we take it in, washing all the tissues; the fact that water cleanses that which is put into it, and divides it from its death-dealing properties, so that we may take the same water, and it gives life to us, — all these facts speak to all of the marvelous cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.7

    Do you not see how, in the treatment at the sanitarium, the gospel of Jesus Christ can be easily preached? We are dealing with real things. We have been groping as if we were in the dark; but the Lord has given us the Spirit to anoint our eyes, so that we can see; and then in these waters that we take, we shall see the blood of Christ, that cleanses from all sin.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.8

    In the tabernacle there were tables of stone, and the law was engraved upon them. It was dead stone. But we come to the living stone. In the true tabernacle, in God’s throne, where the Lamb slain is, this the living stone, enshrining the living law; and the water that flows from that is impregnated, full, charged with the righteousness of the living law of God; and whosoever drinks from that, drinks what? — “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. When a man is thirsty, and gets filled, how does he get filled? — By drinking. He hungers and thirsts after righteousness; then he eats and drinks righteousness, and he is filled with righteousness. Righteousness comes from the throne of God, — flows out in a stream of life. The heavens drop it down; because He visits the earth, and waters it with the rain from heaven. In like manner the prophet says: “Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness.” O, how easy the way of righteousness is made, and how real it is! and O, what a blessed thing, what a pleasure, it is to drink water! Yes; and more than that, the man who sees this, will never drink anything else but water. Of course God lets the water come up through the fruits; and when we take the fruit, we are drinking it still, because that water which has come up through the grapevine, and then been stored up in little clusters, Jesus speaks of as his blood. The rich juices of the fruit are water. But whoever knows that water is the water of life, will never mingle with that pure water of life something which will deteriorate it. He will not put some poison in that if he knows that is the life of God, because that would be saying to the Lord, I know that this is your perfect life; but I do not care anything about all the perfect life; a little of it is good enough for me. I will take it degenerated. What is he doing? — He is crucifying to himself the Son of God, saying, I do not care anything about him; I will put him to death, and let his life go. Is it a hobby or a fad that we do not drink tea and coffee? — There is no fad about it. I think the sooner the time comes when we leave the very word coffee out of our vocabulary, and do not get some substitute for it, we shall all be the better. [Voices: Amen.] If a thing is bad, why do you want to get a substitute for it? Get rid of it. A man in England wrote, not long ago, that the very best substitute he knew for fresh air was tobacco smoke. Why do men want a substitute for air? What is the fresh air to us? — Life. When you get a substitute for life, you have death. Let us never choose death rather than life!GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.9

    O, I delight in drinking water, as I never have before; I delight in bathing. Why, I come right to the throne of God. A man may get righteousness in bathing, when he knows where the water comes from, and recognizes the source. The world is a good deal nearer the gospel than it knows anything about when it says that “cleanliness is next to godliness.” Ah, but cleanliness is godliness. “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might purify it and cleanse it by a “water-bath in the word.” That is the way it reads in the Danish, and that is literal, too. Just bathe in the word. That is not figurative, that is not sentimental; God wants his people to live now as seeing the Invisible, so that they will walk in the sight of the river of God, and drink from the throne of God, and all they do will be eating and drinking in his presence.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.10

    I do not think anybody who gets hold of this will now wonder, Couldn’t I take a little tea or coffee? or, I wonder if they take this at the sanitarium? I wonder if Sister White does this? If somebody else does this, couldn’t I do it? O, every man will stand drinking from the throne of God, and he will not ask whether somebody else drinks or not; but he himself will get as near the Fountain-head as possible. When we see a stream coming right out from a rock, we get as near as possible to the source, and drink. So when we know that these are from God, and we drink from him, God himself is standing right here: “If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink.” And every time we quench that thirst, what is it for? — God wants to give water to every thirsty soul, that we should eat and drink, and so not forget him.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.11

    Suppose you and I were kept alive without eating and drinking, we would say, I have life in myself; I keep myself alive; I am not dependent on anybody. We do say it, in spite of all God has done. But God, in his infinite mercy, provided that we should eat and drink in order that we could know that we have life in him. Every time we get hungry we come to him and eat; every time we feel thirsty, we come to him and drink; and every time we take in an inspiration of air, we are breathing the breath of the Almighty. We eat and drink in his presence.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.12

    When we get over into the new earth, we shall all see the river of life. We must see it now, because you and I will never get over there to see it if we do not see it before we get there. It is the Spirit of God, and we are to be filled with it; so that, as I said this afternoon, the food we eat is spiritual food.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.13

    When we get over into the kingdom of God, the water will flow all the time; and it will go out, as we read in Ezekiel, and water all the earth. Some time we will be wandering on some of our places on the other side from the New Jerusalem, and come to a little rivulet. It is refreshing the earth, and we drink from it. We trace that stream along up, and we find that it gets larger. That is a curious thing. Here as we go up against the flow of a stream, we always find that it gets smaller; but there it will get larger. Soon it is united with a larger stream, and presently a still larger one, and we will pass along rapidly, and presently we are right at the throne of God.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.14

    Now we are not yet over in the new earth; but, thank the Lord, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, and all things are become new. So now when we see this very stream of water we are coming to, it will lead us direct to the throne of God, and we shall drink from the fountain of life, and our souls will live.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.15

    Let us rejoice in this; let us drink; let us get our souls full. O, who would forsake the water that flows from the mountain, clear and sparkling, for water that is standing in a puddle? Would you? — You have done it. I, also. We have hewed out a broken cistern, and wanted to keep the water there; but when God has given us his own life, and it flows throughout the universe, who would take a substitute? who would mingle something with it that is inferior to it? Can we not take the health reform, and preach it? It is the gospel of life. Just take it, rejoice in it, and be glad of it. Take it in its fulness, and we will drink of the River of Eden.GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.16

    O, I thank the Lord for the refreshing showers. You sometimes sing:—GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.17

    “Lord I hear of showers of blessings,
    Thou art scattering full and free,-
    Showers the thirsty land refreshing,-
    Let some drops now fall on me:”
    GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.18

    but don’t ever sing it that way again. The idea that when God is scattering showers full and free, you would ask for a drop or two! Get out under the heavens, where the rain is falling; let the water sift down over you, and take in the showers: “For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God.” Let us drink in the water every day. Then we are living in the presence of God. Ah, we shall not worry about the time when we shall see him! We see him now; we live in his presence now, and there will be no trouble about the coming of the Lord. We shall love his coming; for we shall love to be with him all the time. It is a blessed thing to dwell in the presence of the Lord. “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.19

    “Most of our misfortunes are more supportable than the comments of our friends upon them.”GCDB February 24, 1899, page 80.20

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