I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; (John 17:20)
As a child, growing up on a farm provided any number of special places. One of these, for me, was a natural spring that sat kind of in the middle of nowhere. It was reasonably close to the small river nearby, but far enough away to define its independence. Even then, though there was little that I fully understood, I did know that the spring wasn’t created by the river. It’s fascination lay in the fact that it apparently came from nowhere and went nowhere – like some small miracle oasis, almost as good as God drawing water from a rock.
Of course, my limited imagine contained nothing of the logic or facts of underground water tables – the way water finds weak points to create a path of least resistance, and even how the great flood was effected by a combination of water from above and water ‘erupting’ from below the earth’s surface. When meditating on today’s verse, this image of the spring and of the underground water emerged very clearly as motif of eternity and its place in the purposes of God.
Understanding the complete and eternal nature of God
The completeness of God seems to be something He’s particularly focused on in my readings right now – a kind of imperative awareness, that He wants us to expand our understanding and view of Him to include the word ‘complete’ when considering every facet of His character. Complete mercy, complete grace, complete healing, complete restoration… Whatever and however God is, He is completely so. It’s as if He’s reminding us to always expand our perspective to include eternity.
Today’s verse reveals this concept very clearly. The context is Christ’s prayer to the Father as He prepares for the journey to the cross, and occurs just before He goes into Gethsemane. The focus of the prayer is His believers, and particularly the unity of believers – the Father in the Son, the Son in the believer, and the absolute unity that results from this supernatural unbreakable bond that is forged by the indwelling Christ. It is, in effect, Jesus reminding the Father of the ultimate eternal purpose of the cross, as if He was ‘claiming’ the promise in advance or restating a previous agreement.
However we look at the overall context and prayer, today’s verse brings out the essence of eternalness of God. Using our example of the little spring, I now know that it was connected to an extensive underground water table. The fact that I cannot see it doesn’t alter the truth of its existence. That’s the first significant truth. Eternity exists below, above, around and in every physical or material truth.
The second truth is the little bit I see is only a minute portion of the whole of it – let’s call it the ‘iceberg principle.’ With our natural physical senses and limited spiritual understanding, we can never fully ‘see’ the massive iceberg under the water, nor can we see the intricate, limitless network of underground rivers, streams, pools, lakes, waterfalls and little trickles that God has threaded throughout the earth and below its surface.
This brings out the third truth, that every single thing is connected by eternity. Nothing exists entirely independently. Everthing exits within the total context of eternity because it exists within God. Remember, He holds this universe in the palm of His hand. It is part of Him and cannot be separated. Eternity is, therefore, God Himself. It is the sum total of the absolute completeness of God – the everything, the all in all, the I AM that defines Him.
This is the spiritual context of Christ’s prayer. It is looking beyond the here and now – what we see or perceive with out natural senses – to a supernatural unity. It is a complete unity because it includes that between people, between individuals, Christ and God, and corporately between His people,Christ and Himself. Every single possible facet of unity is covered, because it’s supernatural, and it’s eternal. Unity is intrinsic to the complete, eternal nature of God.
This is so beautifully explained by the ‘forward nature’ of Christ’s prayer. He prays through every possible unity, affirming the interactive presence of Father and Son in a dynamic, supernatural relationship. In this verse, He adds something very significant. He prays for those who have yet to believe. But it’s very specific. It’s not a vague ‘whoever’ but a definite, measurable outcome – those who believe because we speak what we believe.
This implies two very important things. Firstly, our believing is intrinsically tied to our unity with God as defined in Christ’s prayer. God manifests His completeness in the unity between His people and between them and Himself, all through Christ. Secondly, those who believe have the responsibility to speak. We are, in effect, the little springs that manifest the invisible eternity of God. We are the outward sign of the great invisible eternity. It’s not optional. It simply is. Supernatural unity – being included in eternity through union with Christ – means that we now operate on an entirely different level. We become the outlets of the springs of living water that bring eternal life.
Remember, eternity – what God is – includes past, present and future. In God, things are all one and they are all complete. The people who will choose to believe are, in eternity and in Him, already saved. When Jesus prayed, He did so from God’s perspective – eternal and complete. We may be weak, may fall and make mistakes, may fail and struggle and sin. That is the humanity in all of us, and being in the world means we are subject to the pressures of the world and our own flesh. But we are, first and foremost, now part of God. We are part of His complete and eternal nature.
The situation that I may now be experiencing might be really difficult, but grace reminds me that, in God, it is already complete. It is simply a small part of that great eternal I AM. He is concerned about the details in my individual life because it’s part of Him. I am no longer me – separate and individual – but complete, part of the eternal whole of God. I am fed, strengthened, nurtured and empowered by a supernatural, invisible source of living water. I may be a little spring or a large one. I might provide for one person or for a crowd, but provide I must.
The eternity and completeness of God is manifest in this simple principle. Absolutely nothing He does is static. The springs of God are not stagnant pools. They are continually filled and they continually give out. My salvation becomes the source of another’s salvation. That I may not be a ‘preacher’ or an ‘evangelist’ is utterly irrelevant. My words may only be uttered in my prayers for the lost, but they must be uttered.
Understanding the complete and eternal nature of God means looking beyond self. It means accepting that nothing happens ‘just for me.’ Everything has eternal purpose, a kind of ‘knock-on’ effect, like endless ripples in a stream. It’s awe-inspiring to consider that the great God of the universe should choose us to manifest His purposes. It’s even more awe-inspiring that He should, right here and now, give us a taste of eternity. In reaching out to others, speaking to them and praying for them, we reflect what we have become part of and what He is transforming us into in our daily walk with Him – the complete and nature of God.
Lord, awesome is such a very little little word when we try to consider the who and what of You. Thank You for Your grace, for the life-giving, empowering, transforming work of Your living water within us. Help us to see beyond us, to look forward to Your eternal purposes rather than our individual desires, and to live complete, in and for You.