Rivers of Living Water – The Man who became Rich

There was a man called Zaccheus in the land of Israel. He was a tax-collector. The tax collectors used to attend auctions run by the Roman Government (in Caesar’s court) of those days, pay an amount for a period of time, like a year and then get the authority to collect tax from all the public for a particular area or a particular profession. The bidding used to be heavy and competitive with the starting sum being multiplied a few times by the time each subject area was completed and the rights would go to the highest bidder.

Zaccheus was a chief tax-collector who had others working under him. He was a very rich man and had made a lot of money from his business. But, the tax collectors were despised by the people from whom they collected tax. The Jews resented the rule of Rome and the people appointed by Rome, particularly to collect tax from them. The tax collectors were known rogues who cheated and robbed poor and needy people. Zaccheus was in a similar situation (though he himself may not be such a person as becomes clear later). All the people despised him. When he used to go to the synagogue, the dislike was obvious. They used to push him aside, make him sit in a corner. “Hay tax collector move!” You have given your allegiance to Rome, this is gone too far and you are a thief and a cheat. Zaccheus was looking for a place for away to change since this was his profession, but people did not like him. He knew that what they were speaking was right. He was not a good man, but had sometimes robbed and cheated tax-payers, more so they were his own community.  And he was very well to do.

He came to know about Jesus. Jesus had come to bless people. Jesus used to share about love and kindness and patience and forgiveness and not to rob other people. He used to say that if a man looks at a woman to desire after her, he has already committed adultery. If someone has desired/craved for/coveted somebody else’s things or somebody else’s wife, he has already sinned! He is equal to a robber and an adulterer and rapist. But, Jesus also went around helping people, blessing people. He was able to heal those who were sick. He used to lay hands on any number of people and they used to recover. The blind received sight, the fever was driven away, the bleeding was stopped, people with bent backs could stand straight. He used to drive out evil spirits also from those who were in bondage, enslaved, held captive and physically and mentally controlled by them.. Evil spirits used to enter a person and make him do unnatural, bad things. He used to drive out those evil spirits with a word. He used to pronounce people healed from a good distance. He was known to feed a number of thousands from a plate of food like 5 home made loaves of bread and 2 pieces of fish and this had happened more than once.

So, one day, Zaccheus heard that Jesus is coming to his town. He wanted to see Jesus if perhaps he can help him get out of this difficult way of life which he was living, with a bad reputation. He was looking for a way out. The pharisees and scribes who used to teach in the temple and the synagogue never helped him, they only despised him. He was looking for someone who would be kind, who would show him the way out so that he could change. So when he heard that Jesus had come to his town, he was very eager to see him. So he went, but there was a crowd around him and he could not see Jesus and he was very short. He could not go through the crowd, the crowd would also not let him, come close to Jesus. So he ran ahead of the crowd and got into a tree, a small tree and was sitting there waiting because Jesus was going to pass that way. Sure enough, Jesus came and he could see him. He could see the kindness on his face, the graciousness, the firmness coupled with the kindness. He could see it and he was feeling very happy. He had seen a good person. Wish he will bless me also in some way. So I can lead a good happy life as I am in need. He remembers that he is ill-treated wherever he goes and people, including religious leaders are not willing to even speak to him saying first give up your tax collector business and set right your life, which meant go and work somewhere and submit to your new boss and accept the (paltry) salary they will give since you are a worthless person.

Jesus arrives under the tree. And then Jesus is looking up at him. He calls him, “Zaccheus come down, I must come & stay at your house today.” Zaccheus can’t believe his ears. Jesus wants to come to my house. This is the greatest news I have ever heard. He came down quickly, welcomed him, welcome, welcome. And then he realised what sort of person he was. He knows also that it is not just an allegation that people are making that he is a cheat and greedy. He has done such things, such niceties as making exact tax calculations, reducing or cancelling the tax where the person was poor and could not pay. I am over-charging and fearing God and being kind to poor and needy people and helping them, such things are not even in my dictionary. Where he has seen a way to exact penalties, he has shown no mercy or considered the financial state of the tax-payer, but collected the maximum.

He had an immediate change of heart. He wept (on the inside) for the way he had lived and decided, on the spot, to set right his life. He told Jesus, right there on the spot, in front of the people who despised him, “Lord I give half my wealth to the poor and, if I have cheated anybody or collected more than the actual dues (like penalties collected making an excuse), I will restore four times the money.”

Everyone’s eyes opened wide. Never a man like him that I have seen who knew the right thing to do and was whole-hearted in my eyes who really sought God’s favour on his side again. I believe the Holy Spirit came, helped him make the decision. It was a hard decision, but he made it on the spot.

So, when the Spirit comes, this is the way things happen. From a curse, become a blessing. From a greedy man, become a gracious man. From a blood-sucker, become a healer. The mess in your life becomes a message of comfort and stability.  The Spirit of the Lord came upon him. Of course, Jesus was delighted to hear it and He said, today salvation has come to Zaccheus and his house for he too is a son of Abraham. Zaccheus has been saved from his sinful life. Zaccheus has been truly liberated (from being worried about the opinions of people, fearing people instead of God, and from love of money and other sins). For the Son of Man (son of Adam), referring to Himself, has come to seek and save those who are lost (in sin, in fear, in depression and other harm that they suffer spiritually, mentally and materially, any kind of poverty), here the purpose of my coming has been fulfilled. Jesus is very happy. In one minute the change came, Jesus did not have to speak anything. In a minute, Zaccheus knew, this is what I must do, then things will change.

Here is a reproduction of the Holy Bible from where this message has been taken.

Luke 19:1-10

   And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. [2] And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. [3] And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. [4] And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. [5] And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. [6] And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. [7] And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. [8] And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. [9] And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. [10] For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

What is the meaning of this? Abraham was the fore-father of the Jews, he was a friend of God. He trusted God. He paid a heavy price, leaving his country to follow the Lord where He led him. By faith, at age 100, he had a son, by his wife was aged about 90 and barren, called him Isaac. The Lord had promised many things to Abraham. He had renamed him, from Big Father to Father of Many Nations and He had promised him that you will be the father of many nations and have a large progeny. But the Lord tested Abraham also. Once, when Isaac had grown and become a young man,  God told him, “Take your son, Isaac, whom you love and sacrifice him to Me.“ He took his son, tied him 2 days journey to the place designated, built an altar and tied Isaac to the altar.  See also the amazing thing, Isaac also trusts his father and allows him to do this, without resisting. Then Abraham took the knife to kill him. The Lord called out from heaven, “No need to go further, now I know that you fear God and you are willing to give anything for Him.”  Of course, Abraham expected that if he sacrifices his son, because God had said that it is through Isaac that your descendants will be called, so he expected Isaac to rise up from the dead! So, Jesus said that this Zaccheus is the son of Abraham, who has the faith of Abraham and the spirit of Abraham. He will do anything to please the Lord. And he believed in the Lord for everything.

So I am presenting Zaccheus to you.  The man who became rich in the real sense.  A blessing.

Speaking for myself, I am always happy when I remember this story. Many people cheat on tax payment and tax collection. Many keep false accounts. They meditate day and night, how to have more money and comfort even though they may be doing wrong in the way they go about it.

Many people go after women. Many women also fall in this way with men.  Many people hate and are enemies of others for money, hatred towards other communities and many other bad things. Jesus has come to save us from all these things.

Jesus Christ has given His life for us on the cross. There, Jesus took the death penalty for sinners, which we richly deserve ourselves. Every sinner is going to be given the divine punishment of death. The Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for us on the cross. Jesus never sinned, so He could be the sacrifice for our sins (as He was never under the death penalty Himself) and He did this for us so that God’s blessing can come upon us. So whoever accepts His sacrifice as given for me and accepts Jesus as Saviour and Lord, turns away from his/her sinful way of life, the Lord Jesus Christ will forgive all their sins, because He has shed His own blood on the cross for our sins.

This is not the only thing. There is more. After three days, the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Now it is almost 2000 years later, Jeus Christ is in heaven and is praying for His own, He is helping them and blessing them. He hears our prayers and acts, though sometimes He may not answer how we want it, but it is always for our good.

Whoever comes to Jesus Christ, He will do everything that they need. Whatever their need-spiritual, mental, material, physical. We will have Jesus in this way and we will be God’s children. All these blessings come to us if we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. So come and like Zaccheus and Michal (I put the story of Michal earlier-Here is Living Water), put your faith in Jesus, so things will work out for you as well.

Jesus has not come to give a religion. Jesus has come, according to His own words, to give life-life in abundance, a blessed life.

John 10:10

   The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

And He has promised the Spirit to those who follow Him, believing in Him. The Spirit will come to you and be inside you.  He will show you what Jesus is like in different situations and help you follow Him.  He will “shed abroad God’s Love in your heart” and give you  an assurance that you are a Child of God, just as Jesus is the Son of God.  You will be declared a child of God the moment you receive Jesus as your Saviour and Lord and decide to follow Him, giving up that old, sinful way of life. I want to welcome you, Come to Jesus and receive all the blessings which He wants to give to you. You will live under an open heaven. God will be your Father, Jesus will be your elder brother and your high priest and your example and He will bless you. Come to Jesus.

If you have not yet received Jesus into your life, kneel and pray this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner who deserves the death penalty.  Thank you that you have paid the penalty for me on the cross, in your tremendous love and mercy upon me.  Please forgive my sins, I  accept you as the One who died for my sins, my Saviour and my Lord.  Please come into my life.  I want to put away the old sinful way of life that I have been living and follow you.  Please give my your Holy Spirit.  Thank you, I am now a Child of God and you love me.  Your Father is my Father also and Thank You Holy Spirit that you will come and be with me. Amen.

We will be praying for you.  You can contact me on this email ID: sethbhagwandas@hotmail.com

A Child of God or a Murmurer? – Charles Spurgeon

(Num 14:2 [NET])
And all the Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had perished in this wilderness!

There are murmurers amongst Christians now, as there were in the camp of Israel of old. There are those who, when the rod falls, cry out against the afflictive dispensation. They ask, “Why am I thus afflicted? What have I done to be chastened in this manner?” A word with thee, O murmurer! Why shouldst thou murmur against the dispensations of thy heavenly Father? Can he treat thee more hardly than thou deservest? Consider what a rebel thou wast once, but he has pardoned thee! Surely, if he in his wisdom sees fit now to chasten thee, thou shouldst not complain. After all, art thou smitten as hardly as thy sins deserve? Consider the corruption which is in thy breast, and then wilt thou wonder that there needs so much of the rod to fetch it out? Weigh thyself, and discern how much dross is mingled with thy gold; and dost thou think the fire too hot to purge away so much dross as thou hast? Does not that proud rebellious spirit of thine prove that thy heart is not thoroughly sanctified? Are not those murmuring words contrary to the holy submissive nature of God’s children? Is not the correction needed? But if thou wilt murmur against the chastening, take heed, for it will go hard with murmurers. God always chastises his children twice, if they do not bear the first stroke patiently. But know one thing—“He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” All his corrections are sent in love, to purify thee, and to draw thee nearer to himself. Surely it must help thee to bear the chastening with resignation if thou art able to recognize thy Father’s hand. For “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.” “Murmur not as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer.”

Note: Are you a Child of God or a murmurer?  God has disciplined me the past many years, but not delivered me over to death.  I learn to be a responsible son and able to handle when others ill-treat me.  I also ;see how much I lack the Divine Nature of my Father in Heaven.  And I learn.

A Living Picture of Christ – Charles Spurgeon

The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked.

Why should Christians imitate Christ? They should do it for their own sakes. If they desire to be in a healthy state of soul—if they would escape the sickness of sin, and enjoy the vigour of growing grace, let Jesus be their model. For their own happiness’ sake, if they would drink wine on the lees, well refined; if they would enjoy holy and happy communion with Jesus; if they would be lifted up above the cares and troubles of this world, let them walk even as he walked. There is nothing which can so assist you to walk towards heaven with good speed, as wearing the image of Jesus on your heart to rule all its motions. It is when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you are enabled to walk with Jesus in his very footsteps, that you are most happy, and most known to be the sons of God. Peter afar off is both unsafe and uneasy.

Next, for religion’s sake, strive to be like Jesus. Ah! poor religion, thou hast been sorely shot at by cruel foes, but thou hast not been wounded one-half so dangerously by thy foes as by thy friends. Who made those wounds in the fair hand of Godliness? The professor who used the dagger of hypocrisy. The man who with pretences, enters the fold, being nought but a wolf in sheep’s clothing, worries the flock more than the lion outside. There is no weapon half so deadly as a Judas-kiss. Inconsistent professors injure the gospel more than the sneering critic or the infidel.

But, especially for Christ’s own sake, imitate his example. Christian, lovest thou thy Saviour? Is his name precious to thee? Is his cause dear to thee? Wouldst thou see the kingdoms of the world become his? Is it thy desire that he should be glorified? Art thou longing that souls should be won to him? If so, imitate Jesus; be an “epistle of Christ, known and read of all men.”

Rivers of Living Water – Here is Living Water

Michal

Michal left her house to fill water. Michal was a good-looking woman, but one who had gone through a lot of problems in her life. A number of men had married her for her good looks and then separated. She had not been able to get along with them. She did not have any children. Now, she was living with another friend. She had got fed up of marriage, she was only living with him. Even David, the man she was living with, was not happy to settle down, they had decided just to live together and consider marriage later. In this way, she was continuing. She used to go to work and on holidays, she stayed at home. She had felt a great sense of need, but did not know what to do. She wanted companionship and have a good relationship with people. She would like people to be friends with her and she should be friends with them and enjoy people’s company. She wanted to have a household like the other women of her age who were married and had children. But, instead, she was despised and complained against, the whole village despised her. They would forbid their children from speaking to her and question their husbands/brothers if they found them even speaking to her calling her a loose woman. Even when she used to go to collect water from the well, they used to push her aside telling her, “Stand aside, let us all take the water and then you take. (We are all responsible people with families, let us finish first.)” She did not feel like fighting, she just said that I will go at a time when nobody will be there. In this situation, she went to the well to collect water in the afternoon at a time when nobody would be there. They would be busy preparing lunch or doing other work.

There was a man sitting there and he asked her, “Please give me some water.” He was a Jew, but he was speaking nicely to her unlike the way other people treated her. She curiously asked him, “How can you being a man and a Jew speak to a Samaritan woman asking for water?”

Michal lived in a village called Sychar in the land of Samaria, which is now part of Israel. She was a Samaritan. The Samaritans were not like the Jews, they followed idols, whereas the Jews worshiped at the Temple and offered sacrifices there. Also the Samaritans and the Jews did not have a good relationship and even used to have public clashes. The Jews despised them.

The man replied to her, (look at the reply): “If you had known who was speaking to you, you would be asking him for God’s Gift of Living Water!” The meaning of Living Water is a full and good life. It also signifies the Holy Spirit who imparts this life. And she is thinking, “Yes, I am really thirsty and in much difficulty. If God really gives me a Gift of Living Water, then I definitely want it. My life will change!” So she asked him, “Sir, the well is deep! How will you draw this water and give it to me?” And he told her, “The water that I give you will be a spring. You don’t have to go putting your pot inside, trying to get water from the bottom way down, but it will be a spring which will spring up within you and your thirst will be satisfied.” Eagerly, Michal asked, “Sir, give me this water, I need it.” Then he said to her, “Call your husband.”

She is crying and thinking, “How can I tell this man what has happened to me?” So she told him, “I don’t have a husband.” And the man told her, “Yes, what you have spoken is true. You have been married five times and the man you are living with is also not your husband! This you have spoken truly.” And then, Michal got bewildered, “What! This man is a prophet, he knows about me” and decided to divert the topic. So she told him, “Sir, now I recognise that you are a prophet. I want to ask, you Jews say that we must worship only at the Temple, whereas our forefathers have taught us to worship on this mountain and offer sacrifices on this mountain.” Then, he told her, “Woman, I want to tell you,”(and he was speaking very gently)”the time will come when, neither at the Temple, nor on this mountain, will people be worshiping God! God is Spirit and those who worship Him, should do it in spirit and in truth (in reality). He wants people who come to Him as they are to worship Him.”

Michal replied, “I know the Messiah is coming, He will show us all things.” Then the man replied, “Yes, I am the Messiah.” This really was Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Messiah. He has come to show Israel, Samaria and the whole world, the Real-True Worship of the Father and God and the way of salvation from sin, death, bondage & misery and give people a new relationship of Child of God and Eternal Life. Michal had done one good thing, that is she acknowledged her true state (facing up to her need and not excusing herself) and also the fact that she had no husband – a person who was not able to get along with others. She also knew that she needed help, so that she can get along with people and enjoy daily life.

B070_Rembrandt-Christ_and_the_woman_of_Samaria_an_arched_print

And so the conversation continued, as Jesus showed her the way to a new life. From a life of always asking, seeking and demanding, you will be a person who gives, lends and helps and become a blessing to your people. He told her about true worship, sin, repentance, forgiveness, the Holy Spirit and the new abundant blessed way of life and Michal got happier and happier. “Yes, this is what I need, I am getting it today! I have met the Messiah!” Jesus assured her, “I am the one who has come to help everybody-to save everybody from death and bring them out of their misery and the old sinful life and give you a new life-an abundant life full of blessing. Instead of asking-asking, give me this, give me that, you will be in a place where you give-and give-and give. All your sins will be forgiven, you will not be condemned. You will be giving Kindness, you will be giving Patience and you will be a Blessing to the whole village. And so, she is so happy that she leaves the water pot there and goes to the village and calls people, “Come and see this Man, He has given me the Good News, I can be a blessing, I can be a New Person.” And she stirred up the whole village and they came to Him, let us see this, maybe she has something, she is so excited, they leave their home and work. She was telling them, “He told me all that I did and He gave me Hope for the future! I can have a blessed happy life. We can all have a good life. Come and see Him. I think He is the Messiah” and they all came to see Him.

And after seeing Him and speaking to Him, they all told her, “We came because you came excitedly telling us about the Messiah. But, now, after meeting Him ourselves and listening to Him, we believe that He really is the Messiah who is to come and who will save everyone and show the Good Way of God and they persuaded Him to stay in the village. He stayed two days and went.

So, here is a person who knows her need and acknowledges it. She does not try to defend or excuse herself, but says that I am the person in need. I need forgiveness, I need salvation, I need to change, I need to live better. And, Jesus blesses her.

She decides to settle down with David whom she loves and who loves her also.  She knows that it is God’s Kindness that He is giving her a husband and she is thankful.  She understands that we all have faults and need to take it in our stride when we feel that someone does not care for me-because I also have blind spots and faults that others have to handle.  When I am told that there is something wrong with me or the way I behaved, I will apologise and seek to change.

God’s Law prescribes death for all sinners- a judgement we richly deserve.  But, Jesus has borne the penalty for us on the cross.  So those who accept Him and believe in Him are forgiven and become the children of God – a brother/sister of Jesus Christ (Yes, that is why we call those who believe in Jesus as our brother/sister-it is the best title a person can have).

If you have not yet committed yourself to the Lord Jesus, do it now. Just kneel and tell Him (that is the meaning of prayer),

“Jesus I confess that I have sinned and thank you that you died and paid the penalty for my sins on the cross. Please forgive all my sins and cleanse me with the blood You shed for me. Now I want to turn away from that old sinful way of life and follow you doing the things that please you. Please come into my life as Saviour and Lord. Thank you for the privilege of becoming a child of God as I receive you as my Saviour and Lord. Give me your Holy Spirit. Make me enjoy the new life you want to give to me. Amen*”

*AMEN (which means, it shall be so).

Jesus will immediately forgive you however big and great your sins may be and come into your life as Saviour and Lord and you will be a child of God. May the Lord help you enjoy your new life and carry out His plan and purpose for you which is always for the very best. Commit your life to someone who would direct it a hundred times better than you ever could.

You can use the contact form below or write to me at this email ID: sethbhagwandas@hotmail.com

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Let us know that you have given your life to Jesus and want to follow Him and we will be praying for you. Wish you all the best.

Seth Bhagwandas

Rivers of Living Water – An Introduction

John 7:37-39 (NASB): Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ” If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Luke 4:18-19

Words of Jesus:

“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR . HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES , AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND , TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED , 19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

Preface:

I am presenting a small offering to present

  • A New Relationship with God as a child of God
  • The abundant life in Christ
  • The Holy Spirit.

I have experienced a small measure of it and I would like others also to enjoy it. Welcome.

Presenting a new series, “Rivers of Living Water” Articles and stories to help and encourage you to enjoy your daily life