WASHING WITH CLEAN WATER
Not only has the Lord brought us back to the enjoyment of Christ, but He has also washed us. Zechariah 13:1 says that the Lord’s blood is a washing fountain. Likewise, the clean water in Ezekiel 36:25 refers to the Lord’s redeeming and cleansing blood. The Lord Jesus washes us with His cleansing blood, not only when we are saved, but also every time we are revived and brought back to Him.
The Lord washes us from two categories of dirty things: from filthiness and from idols. Filthiness includes sinful, unjust, unrighteous, and all kinds of dark things. It also includes hating others, wrong doings toward others, gambling, going to movies, and sinful amusements. At the time we were saved, we felt ashamed of all those ugly, dirty activities. The Lord’s blood as the cleansing water washes us from all our filthiness. We need to be washed from gossip, from spreading rumors, from jealousy, from criticism, and from all unkindness. Regardless of how filthy we are, the Lord’s blood is like clean water which is able to wash and cleanse us.
Not only did we have a lot of filthiness, we also kept many idols. Consider how many idols you had before you were either saved or revived. Perhaps you even tried to bring some of them into the church life. How many idols do you have presently? To some ladies, even a piece of clothing can be an idol. They may love that piece of clothing much more than they love the Lord Jesus.
Once, while Brother Watchman Nee was ministering in Shanghai, he suddenly pointed to a certain sister and asked, "How many chapters are there in Matthew?" She answered, "Twenty-six." Then Brother Nee asked once more, "How many buttons are on your long gown?" Without hesitation, she told him the correct number. She did not realize Brother Nee’s intention and neither did we. But eventually, we all were clear. Brother Nee responded, "You see, you see, you know your long gown so well, even as to how many buttons it has, but you don’t know how many chapters there are in Matthew!" That little illustration by Brother Nee put all of us into a corner. Many Christians have never dropped a single tear for the Lord Jesus, but they have wept many tears for their clothing. This proves they love those things more than they love the Lord Jesus. Some Christians only care to get a doctorate, to have a position, to have fame, or to make themselves a name. All these are idols. The Lord’s blood cleanses us not only from our filthiness, but also from our idols. This cleansing with the blood as the clean water is on the negative side.
A New Heart and a New Spirit
On the positive side, after the cleansing, God gives us a new heart and a new spirit. While many of you had been in Christianity for years, I am afraid that you had never heard a message telling you that you have a human spirit. You heard many messages, but none of these told you that at your conversion the Lord gave you a new heart and a new spirit. You must realize that there is a difference between the heart and the spirit. Once, when I was ministering in Las Vegas, a sister was greatly bothered because I said that to have a loving heart is not enough. In tears she asked me, "What do you mean that a loving heart is not enough?" To illustrate to her, I asked her if she loved a certain Bible which belonged to her husband. When she assured me that she did love it, I said, "Okay, please take it." As she stretched out her hand to take it, I said, "Do not use your hand. Just use your loving heart. Take it by your heart." By this example she saw that having a loving heart is not sufficient. She also needed to reach forth her hand to take the Bible.
If we would contact the Lord, receive the Lord, take the Lord, enjoy the Lord, drink the Lord, and eat the Lord, we need a spirit. First, we must love the Lord; we must have an appetite toward the Lord. If we have no love toward the Lord and no appetite for Him, we will never come to Him or take Him. Before we were saved, we had no appetite for the Lord. Instead, our taste was for the world. We had an appetite to go boating or fishing or to participate in sports. When people talked to us about the Lord Jesus, we did not care to listen; we had no interest because we had no appetite. However, one day the Lord granted us His gracious visitation and immediately our appetite changed. Now we have no appetite for amusements and sports. Now we love the Bible, and we love to fellowship with the saints. This is the Lord’s gracious doing. This is a real turning of our heart from the world to the Lord Himself. We need such a consuming appetite for the Lord Jesus that it will turn us from so many other appetites. We must be able to tell the Lord that we love Him and that we are hungry for Him alone.
Once we have acquired a loving appetite toward the Lord, we also need to use our spirit, to contact Him, touch Him, and receive Him into us. This brings us the enjoyment of the Lord. Thus, we need both organs: a loving heart and a receiving spirit.
(The Visions of Ezekiel, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)