THE WAY TO DRINK THE SPIRIT
How do we drink? We simply need to call, “O Lord Jesus!” It is that simple. You may oppose and argue, but if you do not drink in this way, you will not get a drink. Just try it and see. Let us all leave our position as “scholars” and be “country folks,” living the “country life” and drinking together. If your drinking is too refined, you will not enjoy the taste much. On the other hand, uneducated country people often enjoy their drinking. I would urge everyone not to care about being polite when eating the spiritual feast; simply care for the enjoyment by tasting its sweetness and eating to your heart’s content.
From our experience, we have discovered that if you do not call on the Lord’s name, you will probably not get a drink of the living water. We have all been given to drink the one Spirit. I would ask you, have you drunk yet? How much have you drunk? Do you drink daily? I can certainly testify that since the day I saw this, I have realized that I cannot get by without drinking.
Do not ever consider that calling on the Lord’s name is a small matter. It is a great matter! In our physical body, breathing is a crucial matter. In the spiritual things, if you have the experience, you will understand that drinking is breathing, breathing is drinking, and drinking is eating. Have you heard this kind of speaking before? Breathing is drinking, and drinking is eating. What is breathing? It is calling on the name of the Lord, as in Hymns, #73, stanza two, which 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.” For us to breathe is just to drink, and to drink is just to eat. A baby eats by drinking milk; his drinking is his eating. We all must understand that our calling on the Lord today is our breathing the Lord, our breathing the Lord is our drinking the Lord, and our drinking the Lord is our eating the Lord. When we breathe much, that is our drinking; and when we drink much, that is our eating. All we need to do is call on the Lord’s name, and we simultaneously drink and eat. The result is that we receive air, water, and food. When a person receives air, water, and food, will he not be healthy?
I remember clearly that twenty years ago the Lord began to recover among us the matters of exercising our spirit, using our spirit, releasing our spirit, and eating, drinking, and enjoying the Lord. In the spring of 1958, in this very place, we had three conferences in a row for two weeks each in which we spoke about eating, drinking, and enjoying God. From that time until today, we have spoken more and more on this topic, and the more we speak, the more we have to speak. I believe that this teaching will increase more and more among us because this is our most critical personal need. If as co-workers and responsible brothers in the churches you do not know how to breathe, drink, eat, and enjoy the Lord, you will never be able to make the churches in your localities living.
THE PROPER CONDITION OF THE CHURCHES
Dear brothers and sisters, I do not approve of screaming, shouting, and making much noise. However, I also do not agree with the old Christianity way in which everyone comes at the scheduled time clutching a Bible to have a worship service, and while waiting for the pastor to come, each one greets this friend and that friend. If you want me to go back to support this, I cannot do it, even if you were to threaten me with beheading. This practice kills people, and I do not want to be an “executioner.” Nor do I encourage you to scream, shout, leap, or jump. However, if we keep pace with the Lord’s recovery by constantly calling on the Lord in spirit, breathing the Lord, drinking the Lord, and eating the Lord, then we will daily partake of Him and experience Him as our living water and our Companion. If all of us here at this time, more than ten thousand people, were the “living creatures” and if we were to live this way to such an extent that even the universe would be startled, then all the demons would flee from us.
We may use this conference as an example. The way of Christianity is that each denomination first sends representatives to a joint planning session in which the leader of the conference is chosen and the methods are discussed. Then they put advertisements in all the newspapers. In the conference meetings everything is done according to rituals, and the atmosphere is dead. In the church, however, if everyone is burning inwardly by eating, drinking, and breathing the Lord, then we, like Benjamin, as ravenous wolves, will tear the devil to pieces. Whenever we are living, the demons immediately flee. When we sing hymns, there are not even any shadows, but all are in life, and the angels in the air shout for joy. I tell you that anyone who comes into such a situation will be saved. Everyone is enlivened because death will have already been swallowed up by the life of the church. I deeply feel that the church in each locality should have such a condition.
I would only ask that when you get into life and have this living, you would please avoid natural activities. We do not want to have any activities in the flesh. We want our spirits to be strong, living, and released. I definitely know that calling on the Lord will change us, but you should not shout early in the morning when the neighbors are still sleeping. This is neither ethical nor righteous. Our voices should not be thrust on others. We can call on the Lord Jesus softly, gently, and quietly. Also when we come together for morning watch, we should not disturb others with our loud pray-reading of the Word and our calling on the Lord’s name. We should always exercise heavenly wisdom; the new man should have the wisdom of the new man.
THE SCRIPTURAL BASIS FOR CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD
My point is that you should not forget that we all must drink the Spirit. There is no other way to drink the Spirit except by calling on the name of the Lord. Calling on the Lord is absolutely scriptural; it has a basis in the Bible. First Corinthians 12:3 says, “No one can say, Jesus is Lord! except in the Holy Spirit.” Thus, even if you reverse the order of the name, when you say, “Jesus is Lord,” you are in the Spirit. As soon as you open your mouth and breathe, the air gets into you. Today the Spirit is the living air, so all you need to do is call on the Lord’s name: “O Lord Jesus!” Then you will immediately feel that within you there is some fresh air. This is not something psychological. If you call on Socrates, Washington, or Lincoln, nothing will happen. However, when you call on the Lord Jesus, something happens. Even if you call on Him in a joking way, six out of ten times you will be touched by the Lord. If you were to call on all the famous people from the past to the present, you could call for half a day, but the more you call, the more thirsty you will become, because those names do not give water or breath. However, when you call, “O Lord Jesus!” you will be completely changed. If you call a few more times, your tears will well up. “O Lord Jesus, You are so good and so sweet. I love You.” We can all experience this.
If you go back and reread both the Old and New Testaments, you will discover that there are several hundred records of calling on the Lord. The verses on calling that I treasure the most are Lamentations 3:55-56: “I called upon Your name, O Jehovah, / From the lowest pit. / …do not hide / Your ear at my breathing.” This clearly tells us that calling on the Lord is our breathing. Both the Body and the new man depend on breathing the Lord’s name. When we call on the Lord’s name and drink the Spirit, the Spirit is life to the Body and the person to the new man. It is by enjoying the Lord in this way that all the saints on the entire earth can become one new man.
(One Body, One Spirit, and One New Man, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)