Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, by Witness Lee

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First Corinthians 12:13 says, “For also in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and were all given to drink one Spirit.” Listen to the pure Word; do not listen to any other word. The Pentecostals often ask if we have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. From now on whenever someone asks this, we should answer, “Have you not read 1 Corinthians 12:13?” Do not listen to man’s teaching; listen to the pure Word. Here is a verse telling us that we all were baptized. All included all the Corinthians, but in 14:5 Paul says, “I desire that you all speak in tongues.” This indicates that some of the Corinthians had not spoken in tongues. All the Corinthians were baptized in the Holy Spirit, but at least some of the Corinthians had never spoken in tongues. Do not listen to the traditional teachings of today’s Christianity, whether they are Pentecostal or fundamentalist. Come back to the pure Word. Whether or not we have spoken in tongues, as long as we believe in the Lord Jesus, we were baptized in the Spirit.


First Corinthians 12:13 mentions something besides the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We need this balance. The last part of the verse says, “And were all given to drink one Spirit.” We all have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is one matter, but there is another: We all have been given to drink.

God can only give us to drink, but He cannot drink for us. Now we have to drink. We were all baptized in one Spirit, but I doubt that we are all now drinking. The pure Word tells us that as long as we believe in the Lord Jesus, we all have been baptized in the Spirit, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free. But following this we also have been given, positioned, to drink. Whether or not we drink is up to us. In the morning I am made to eat by being positioned at the dining table. However, suppose I only sat there and said, “Hallelujah, I have been positioned to eat.” My host may say, “Now is not the time for you to talk. Now is the time for you to eat. Forget that you have been positioned and simply eat.” Today is not the time to be baptized. We have been baptized already. Today is for us to drink.

To be baptized is to be put into the water. To drink is to take the water in. We cannot replace taking the water in with being put into the water. These are two different matters. If a brother is thirsty and I only baptize him, he may say, “Be merciful to me. I don’t need so much water. I just want one glass. Don’t put me into the water. Rather, give me a little water to drink.” Baptism can never replace drinking. In Christianity many only talk about baptism. They never talk about drinking. But in 1 Corinthians 12:13 there are both matters, and between these two is the conjunction and. We all were baptized and we all were given to drink. Baptism is no problem; it has already been accomplished. Praise the Lord, we also have been positioned to drink, but the Lord can never drink for us. For eternity we have to drink.

The way to drink is in verse 3 of the same chapter: “No one can say, Jesus is Lord! except in the Holy Spirit.” This is similar to saying, “No one can breathe except that the air gets into him.” Can we say that we are breathing, but the air never comes in? When we breathe, the air comes in. If we open up our mouth and exercise to breathe, the air comes in. If we say, “O Lord Jesus!”, we are in the Spirit. This is drinking. The way we drink of the Spirit is by saying, “O Lord Jesus.”

As we have seen already from Lamentations, our calling, “O Lord Jesus,” is our breathing. Hymn #73 in Hymns was written by Miss M. E. Barber, an older sister who helped Brother Watchman Nee very much. Stanza 2 says, “Blessed Jesus! Mighty Savior! / In Thy Name is all I need; / Just to breathe the Name of Jesus, / Is to drink of Life indeed.” Three or four years ago when I told the Lord’s people that to breathe is to drink, I was a little doubtful. I had never heard anyone say this, and I thought that I might be too much. However, one night in Los Angeles this hymn was called. While we were singing, I was surprised at the lines which say, “Just to breathe the Name of Jesus, / Is to drink of Life indeed.” At least one other person, Miss Barber, a sister who was deep in the Lord, experienced the same thing. To call on the name of the Lord is to breathe Him, and to breathe Him is to drink of Him. The way to drink of the one Spirit is to call, “O Lord Jesus!” To call is to breathe, and to breathe is to drink, so to call is simply to drink. If you are thirsty, call on the Lord. At any time or any place, even while we are driving, we may be thirsty. Then we may call on the Lord and receive the living water. Try it; it always works. When we call on the name of the Lord, we drink of the Lord and we receive all the riches of the Lord.

There is no need for anyone to teach, instruct, or correct us. If a brother has long hair and is unshaven, no one may ever tell him to cut his hair or shave, but if every day he would call, “O Lord Jesus,” some “cutting scissors” would come to him from within. The only problem is that we may not drink; we may not call on the name of the Lord. Sometimes I have been put into a situation in which I was about to lose my temper. My temper was on fire. However, after calling, “O Lord Jesus!”, three times, the fire was quenched. To call on the Lord in this way is marvelous. If someone gives me a difficult time, I may feel badly toward him. If a pastor would come and try to instruct me not to lose my temper, I may lose my temper all the more and even become angry at the pastor. However, if I would call on the Lord three times, I will love that person. All we need is Jesus, and the way to participate in Jesus is by calling on Him. The Lord is “rich to all who call upon Him.” This is very simple, and this is our Christian life. Our Christian life must be a calling life.

(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)