THE SPIRIT AS WATER AND BREATH
In the New Testament there are two lines of the experience of the all-inclusive Spirit: the line of John and the line of Luke. In John’s Gospel and in his first Epistle we have the experience of the Spirit within. John uses two main symbols to signify this aspect of the Spirit. First, John used the symbol of water, saying that the all-inclusive life-giving Spirit is like living water for people to drink. The Spirit is also likened to water in John’s last book, the book of Revelation. In Revelation 22:17 the people are called to drink of the living water. No doubt, this living water is the life-giving Spirit. This is clearly indicated in John 7:37-39.
The second symbol of the Spirit in John’s writings is the breath. According to John 20:22, the Lord Jesus came to His disciples on the evening of His resurrection, breathed into them, and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." According to the writings of the Apostle John, the Spirit is the water for drinking and the breath for breathing. John used these two symbols to represent what the life-giving Spirit is today. This Spirit is the water to quench our thirst and the breath for us to breathe in. As we breathe in this Spirit, we have our life in this breath. This is the inward aspect of the life-giving Spirit. All of us in the Lord’s recovery have learned to drink and breathe of this Spirit. We need to drink of Him and breathe Him in by calling on His name. A stanza of a hymn written by Miss M. E. Barber has the following lines:
Blessed Jesus! Mighty Savior!
In Thy Name is all I need;
Just to breathe the Name of Jesus,
Is to drink of Life indeed.
The way to breathe the name of Jesus is to call, "O Lord Jesus." No doubt this sister often called on the name of Jesus. Otherwise, how could she say in her hymn that to breathe the name of Jesus is to drink of life indeed? The way to breathe His name is to call, "O Lord Jesus." "Just to breathe the name of Jesus is to drink of life indeed." This short stanza also indicates that our breathing is our drinking. To breathe is to drink. When we call on the name of Jesus, we both breathe and drink. This is the experience of the life-giving Spirit in the Gospel of John, a book of life.
(The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)