John 7:38: He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Here Jesus creates a fascinating picture to demonstrate a powerful truth. Rivers are unending, flowing from the earth over great distances into the oceans. God wants similar eternal streams of living waters to gush forth from our lips. Notice that “rivers” in the verse is plural. God doesn’t just want one river to flow from us, but wants five streaming in every direction, everywhere we go, at all times. What are these five rivers?
The first, and perhaps most important, is praise. Psalm 35:28: And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long. We must praise God constantly. Our prayers should begin and end with praise. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Matthew 6:9,13). We must praise Him when life is good and when it’s bad. Sometimes it’s a sacrifice we have to force ourselves to do, but still we must glorify His name every day of the week. Hebrews 13:15: By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
And no matter how much we praise God, it will never be enough. In Revelation 7, John saw four beasts, 24 elders, and the saints who’d been killed during the Tribulation Period arrayed in white, all worshiping around His throne and Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen (verse 12). They sing this song, over and over for all eternity, but it still could never express His eternal greatness.
Prayer is the next river. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to Pray without ceasing. Just like praise, we cannot pray enough. Not only must we talk to Him every day, morning and evening, we must be ready to drop what we’re doing at any time when He is ready to speak to us. Needs can come without warning, and we have to stay pure and holy to access His throne at a moment’s notice. Each day should be saturated with prayer, and we live in an age of grace where He will give His anointing freely without measure. Isaiah 12:3: Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
My own spiritual life began to change when I learned to incorporate prayer into my daily life. Our prayer lives should not revolve around our routines, but our routines should revolve around our prayer lives. Praying without ceasing is the bedrock of a close relationship with God. The more we communicate with the Father, the more time we will want to communicate with Him. We need to be addicted to His presence, unable to satisfy our thirst to be with Him. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God (Psalm 42:2)?
A river of love should also flow from the Christian’s lips. The Bible tells us that love is the greatest gift of all. 1 Corinthians 13:13: And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. Christianity doesn’t exist without love. I could praise God regularly and pray all day long, but if I have no love, He isn’t hearing a word I say. 1 John 4:20: If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? If I receive all 9 gifts of the Spirit, become an amazing preacher, and travel around the world evangelizing and being admired by millions, but have no love in my heart, I am nothing in the eyes of God. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2).
To love others is the greatest commandment Jesus gave. Mark 12:30-31: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. To hate anyone, no matter what they’ve done to you, is sin. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now (1 John 2:9). It is not always easy, but we must forgive others, because if you have a single grudge when you take that final breath, you will spend eternity in Hell. Matthew 5:22: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Love and gossip cannot coexist. We must speak nothing but love towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. If you criticize any Christian behind their back, you are canceling out every prayer you’ve ever prayed for them. We must serve love to the world, because love is what the world is missing, and it will draw them to Jesus. If all they can see is the hate we have for one another, they will see through our sham for the hypocrites we really are.
Love and blessings go hand in hand, and that’s why the next river is blessings. If we speak nothing but love, then we will speak nothing but blessings. Hate and cursing have no place in the kingdom of God. Jesus brought life to everyone He met; likewise, the world should see something different about the rivers of blessings gushing from our lips. Ephesians 4:29: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Many Christians are okay with using profanity, that it’s “just words,” but the Bible condemns swearing. Hosea 4:2 even likens it with murder and bloodshed: By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Taking the Lord’s name in vain is prevalent in the world, and now Christians often do it without thinking twice. But in Old Testament times, this was a crime was punishable by death (Exodus 20:7). If we spew forth curses, God says that those curses will come back to us. Psalm 109:17: As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. We cannot say “God bless you” to one person, then turn around and cuss at another. If a river of holiness escapes our lips, it will be poisoned by even a drop of profanity. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter (James 3:10-11)?
Tongues is the final river. Smith Wigglesworth once said “I never get out of bed in the morning without having communion with God in the Spirit.” Christians, especially anyone who calls themselves Pentecostal, should wake up every morning ready to praise God in the unknown languages. If we reject “once saved, always saved,” then we shouldn’t believe in “once filled, always filled,” either. When we receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, then that first experience should be just the beginning, as tongues flows from our lips like living waters.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14 I would that ye all spake with tongues (verse 5). God demands that every believer receive the Baptism; it wasn’t optional for the 120 gathered in the Upper Room, and it isn’t optional for the believer today, either. Tongues is the gateway to greater things with the Lord. Acts 2:3-4: And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Before receiving the Holy Ghost, the disciples were all still confused and uncertain about their mission, but once they tasted of the fire of God, they were finally transformed into the true apostles they were meant to be. Then God was able to pour out miracles and healings through them, and thousands were saved every day. The Holy Ghost is what brought Peter from a coward who had fled Christ into a bold man of God who was so anointed that people were healed by merely touching his shadow.
The Lord longs to do the same for the church today. All the apostles were only human. We can receive the same anointing they had; but it takes the Holy Ghost. The same tongues of fire that baptized them will fall on us and give us that earth-shattering power the church of Acts had, if we will simply yield to it.
The spoken Word of God travels from the Father’s mouth and has the power to do all things. Jeremiah 10:12: He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. Throughout Genesis, His Word creates, and throughout Revelation, it destroys. God created all things by commanding them to come into existence, and He will shake the earth and destroy all sinful humanity by simply ordering it.
Since mankind was made in the image of God, we too have that power. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: (Proverbs 18:21). With our tongues, we have the power to speak life, or destroy. We can bless and build up our brothers and sisters in Christ, or we can bring them death. James 3:8-9: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
Five rivers should constantly flow from the Christian’s mouth like living waters in all directions; praise, prayer, love, blessings, and tongues. Words are not meaningless; what we speak has real-world consequences, and we can either win others to the Lord by speaking life, or drive them to Hell by spewing forth bitter waters. Proverbs 12:18: There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.