We have two apple trees in our backyard. All spring our family watches as first leaves, then buds, then flowers grow on the branches. Then, we finally see apples appear— first small and green, but eventually plump and red. It’s a joyous day when we get to pick the first ripe apple. But, especially in the Texas summer, we have to make sure the trees stay watered if we hope to get apples. And when we take out the hose, we do not focus the spray on the apples themselves. Instead, we soak the ground around the tree, hoping that the water will seep down deep to the trees’ roots. Apples are merely the fruit that starts with the roots. They are simply the overflow of something far deeper.
The Living Water of Right Belief
Similarly, it’s been said that right worship of God can only stem from a right view of God. Trying to conjure up our own desire or ability to worship God would be like watering apples: it may seem like it works for a little while, but if we focus on our actions, abilities, or words, our worship will end up shriveled and dry. However, if we start with the roots—our heads and hearts—and soak in the deep knowledge of God, His truth and promises, then our natural response will be worship. We will want nothing more than to give Him our lives; to display and declare Him to be better than anything else. A life of worship—which includes righteous living, pursuing holiness, battling sin, and so on—starts with right belief about God.
The problem is that many of God’s people are surrounded by misbeliefs about God. This is not unique to us: in the Old Testament, God’s people were surrounded by the literal false gods and idols worshipped by their neighboring nations. The first Christians on earth existed in an Empire whose ruler was declared to be a god, and both Roman and Greek Christians in New Testament times had to compare the one true God with a whole pantheon of mythical gods. Christians today are similarly torn between worshipping our one true God and many false gods that want our time, money, attention, and affection (in other words, our worship).
Soaking in the Truth of Easter
Like fresh water, the “gospel soaking” that happens over Easter week is no matter of mere convenience or annual rhythm in our lives. Its truths are the only way we can bear fruit and stay fully alive, especially in a world where our branches are dry, where we feel barren, and where we’re surrounded by physical and spiritual death.
To be clear, Easter itself is far more than an annual rhythm and reminder, but it’s not less than that. For many Christians, this week is an opportunity for our hearts to remember and become refreshed with the living water of the gospel. It is an annual call to remember an age-old confession that soaks down deep, then sends renewed life and worship surging through our veins: “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.”
This week we open up the depths of our hearts to declare our need for who God is and what He has done. This week will are refueled with the truths of Jesus’ perfect life, sacrificial death, and eternal life-giving resurrection. Compared to other things that want our worship, God the Spirit often uses the unique focus of Easter to produce proverbial leaves, buds, flowers, and fruit—right worship, true hope, a yearning for God, and a solid foundation that are true and vital all year round, but that are too easily forgotten.
Maybe you enter this Easter week resonating with Thomas’ doubt. Maybe you feel Mary’s grief, or the yearning of the women who went to the garden. Maybe you associate with Peter’s denial, the disciples’ confusion, or even Judas’ rejection of Christ. Wherever we are this Easter week, we’re confronted with a miraculous Savior who can heal, redeem, forgive, satisfy, and refresh our very depths.