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Comment By Torchlight

Political terrorism in London

As we write (March 9) the secular Press reports in detail on the wave of political terrorism in Central London. Miraculously, only one died but 213 were injured and serious damage was done in the region of the Old Bailey and Great Scotland Yard. Here is yet another example of the rising tide of terrorism which is sweeping the world. It can happen anywhere and its victims are usually innocent civilians. The London explosions emphasize the agony of Northern Ireland where, in the past three years, over 1,000 have lost their lives and many thousands have been maimed. These terrible events are a depressing symptom of the sickness of mankind.

The dilemma of governments and those responsible for law and order is grave indeed. The problem seems to defy human solution. This is a matter for special exercise in supplication during the Fellowship-wide Week of Prayer (April 1-7, DV).

The Outflow

It was feast time in Jerusalem. The city was agog. The colourful ritual of the feast of tabernacles was nearing its climax. The last day, the great day of the feast had come. Once more the high priest took the golden pitcher and carried it in procession through the crowded streets to the pool of Siloam. There he filled it with water and carried it back through the crowds to the temple. As he did so the people chanted the promise of God to Isaiah, "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation" (12:3). Then the high priest flung the water on the altar as an offering to God.

Before the crowd dispersed a voice rang out, loud and clear. The speaker wore no priestly garb. Yet He was no stranger to the temple court; He was a marked Man, and the rulers were already conspiring to take Him. The multitude was arrested as His voice resounded with compelling power. The tone was pleading,

"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" (John 7:37,38).

Water to drink, and rivers to flow! What did this mean? As he records his Master's momentous words John gives the clue to their meaning: "This He spake of the Spirit, that they that believed on Him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified" (v.39).

Two strands of divine activity are embraced in our Lord's declaration; the one, historic and dispensational, the other, personal and individual. There is the once-for-all outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost; and there are its age-long consequences. Our Lord's promise, "He shall be in you" (John 14:17), remains our precious heritage. We believe it; we accept it as an article of faith. But are we sufficiently aware of the possibilities it brings to each and every one of us? This is our concern in this brief reference to a vital subject.

Our Lord's words on the great day of the feast indicate~ that one important purpose of the Spirit's indwelling of the believer is that he or she should be the channel through which may flow an abundance of divine blessing. The believer is viewed not as a vessel to receive and contain the water of life, but rather as a living watercourse through which it may flow to others. But there must be an inflow if there is to be an outflow. The Greek verbs in the passage are in the present tense, "If anyone be thirsting, let him be coming unto Me, and drinking" (Ratherham). It is this continuous assimilation of Christ which brings divine overflowing fulness.

Do we not need more than anything else in this superficial age a fresh infilling of the Divine Spirit? The hindrance is with ourselves. If we open to the indwelling Spirit the inner regions of heart and life, so that He pervades the whole, the consequences are assured. The believer may or may not be conscious of the outflow, that matters little. The promise stands, "Out of his inwards shall flow rivers of living water". Let us fulfil the conditions and rest in faith upon the, promise. The outflow "is a thing supernatural. It is a state of man wholly unattainable by training, by reasoning, by human wish and will. It is nothing less than God in command of man's whole life, flowing everywhere into it, that He may flow fully and freely out of it in effects around" (Moule).