People are spiritually thirsty and just like we attend to our bodily appetites by not always reaching for the right thing to quench their thirst; some have not reached for the right thing to quench their spiritual thirst. What is it that quenches the dryness of a soul? What is it that people reach for to bring relief to a spiritual thirst? I ask these two questions because the thing that quenches a dry soul and the thing people reach for to relief spiritual thirst may not be the same things.
As a Christian, we believe that there is only one way to permanently and thoroughly relive spiritual thirst and that is through Jesus. In the Holy Scriptures Jesus is referred to as living water. In the book of John, the 4th chapter we are invited to witness a planned encounter at the well of Jacob. It is here that Jesus waits for his next counseling session to begin. A woman whose historical origin is set in Samaria arrives just in time to receive that which she had not expected. Verse 13 records Jesus telling the Samaritan woman that anyone who drinks of the water that He provides will never be thirsty again. He is the giver of living water that gushes up to eternal life. There is this biblical image of Jesus as a refreshing stream of water that comes directly from heaven and that once you drink of it you will be completely satisfied. Not only will your thirst be completely satisfied but John 7:38 assure us that out of the believer’s heart shall living water (Christ) flow like a river.
Christ quenches the thirsty soul but He is not the only drink in town. During the time of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus there were Jewish Christians who reached for magic/ occult practices in order to quench their spiritual thirst. Our scripture this morning tells us that there was a Jewish high priest by the name of Sceva who had seven sons. His sons were among the many Jewish Christians who had reached for magic/occult to quench their spiritual thirst. Something about the counterfeit appealed to them more than the authentic appealed to them. Scripture doesn’t tell us the whole story behind their preference for the counterfeit but we could guess that it had something to do with common acceptance. Practicing magic was just the thing that was done. Maybe the air of spectacular that surrounded magic was most appealing. Whatever the appeal, it was the drink of choice for a number of Jewish Christians. Our scripture shows by example that not only will reaching for the wrong thing to quench spiritual thirst leave us wanting for more; it will also place us in a vulnerable position to the devil.
Isaiah 55:10-11 says that “my word that goes out from my mouth will not return to God empty, but that it will accomplish that which God purposes and it shall succeed in the thing for which God sent it.” Paul’s ministry in Ephesus proved this passage in Isaiah to be trustworthy. While there God did extraordinary miracles through Paul. Paul spoke God’s word and God caused what Paul spoke to be accomplished. The accomplishment of God’s word was one miracle after another. When you see miracles taking place something within your spirit longs to be connected with that presence. Anyone who has witnessed a miracle can testify how they longed to get closer, longed to be connected with the presence of God that had made it possible. Unfortunately Sceva’s sons put themselves in such a vulnerable position by drinking of polluted spiritual practices that they ended up attacked, overpowered, wounded and the talk of the town. Their experiences pained them, like a person who drinks a straight shot of liquor feels the pain in their throat. It burns going down.
People are spiritually thirsty and they have a choice of drinks; the living water of Christ, or the polluted practices of counterfeit power. But the word of God to the church in this hour is not simply a word of wisdom to believe in Christ so that rivers of living water may flow in you. It is not simply a word of wisdom to resist the devil of the counterfeit, the occult and various divinations. But the word of God to the church in this hour is an admonishment not to mix your drinks. But the word of God to the church in this hour is not to mix a little bit of Christ with a little bit of crystals. Don’t mix your drinks. Don’t try to take the purity of Christ and mix in a little anti-christ.
After the word spread around town that seven Jewish exorcists were attacked, overpowered and wounded by an evil spirit many Christians publically confessed that they had been mixing living water with polluted practices. The fear of the Lord must have come upon them to the point that they realized the danger they were living.