“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”

A better, or more important, promise has never been made or heard on this earth or anywhere else. We are all “thirsty” for the water that only God has to give. In the episode at the well, Jesus made this same offer to a woman in need of His grace. In John 4, he told her of a “living water” he could give. When questioned about how he could make such a claim, he extended the claim even further: “…those who drink the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Obviously, there’s more at play here than physical thirst. Jesus offers life itself. Eternal life. But when Jesus talked about eternal life, he wasn’t ONLY concerned about what we may call life after death of the afterlife. He was concerned about life right here, right now. Listen to his own words, spoken to his Father just before his execution, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Eternal life is knowing God – knowing Jesus.

We call the fourth environment in our discipleship process RIVER. With that image, we want to communicate the life-giving nature of knowing Jesus. It’s not just life for me – it’s life that wells up and flows through me to others. A disciple isn’t merely a follower of Jesus on a leash; we are called to be conduits of His grace. We are to be life-giving agents wherever we go.

Scottsbluff is in a pretty arid part of the country. You can leave town and look out over the prairie and see very little vegetation taller than a couple feet. But every once in a while, you can see a row of trees pushing up above the brush and grasses. There’s a river there. Where the river flows, it gives life to the land.

We want to see our students taking life to others. Filled with the grace of God. Unable to contain it within. Allowing His life to flow through them to the least of these all around us. When we’ve aligned ourselves with God’s mission (to love His image-bearing but rebellious creation) He is faithful to provide opportunity to enter into the work of that mission. This environment is all about life-giving service. Entering in to the work of Jesus.

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let those who hear say, ‘Come!’ Let those who are thirsty come; and let all who wish take the free gift of the water of Life.” (Rev. 22:17)

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