Every river has a source. And every river flows downhill. Though many people are aware of rivers few are aware of the point at which a river begins.
This holds true even for those familiar rivers flowing by one’s locale where a man might fish or kids swim or families gather, or those city rivers spanned by bridges and shadowed by tall downtowns. People may know all about a section of the river closest to them or that part which they may frequent for whatever reason. They may also know about a portion of the river flowing away from them to various degrees because anyone who’s ever been on a river has drifted downstream either on purpose or not, maybe in a boat or a tube or a canoe or two. But fewer are familiar with any great distance in the other direction, that upstream direction that requires more effort as you go, both to overcome the current and the faster currents in the main current and also because you be going uphill toward them thar hills where the gold is and the higher you go the more effort it takes, which kind of removes the whole point of being on a river in the first place. One will also figure out that the day goes faster on the upstream track and it gets darker sooner and unless you got a plan for Z-catching time you’ll be up a river without a plan. Or a paddle. Plans and paddles always seem to work better going downstream.
Which only proves my point all the more. Going with the flow is cake and even dogs can do that. Speaking of which, in a former life I was once the very proud master of the greatest dog that ever lived. We would go to the lake together. I had a big inner tube. I would lay across it out there on an inlet of the lake and my good doggo, a fifty plus pound mostly black lab would stand on the tube crossways with her fore feet on one side and hinder feet on the other. We’d ride like that, a captain and his mate, me relaxing and her on her high perch on the lookout alert to all of nature with senses in overdrive locked in on distant pirate ships off on the horizon only dog eyes can see and maybe sensing or smelling a school of fish in the unseen underworld swimming under us and catching wind from distant points and occasionally making a clean jump overboard and a dog splash with nary a degree course shift to said tube undoubtedly to protect me from Leviathan (or probably just to get wet and do some doggo paddling).
And speaking further of which, those big inner tubes from tractor tires that people used to float around on back in the day curiously only work in one direction even though they came from a large rolling farm machine that goes in several. Go figure. Going downstream requires a couple of oars. Going upstream requires gasoline, or maybe a lot more oars, probably manned by guys that look like Vikings. It’s fun to be following a river to its mouth where it exits into a nice day at the beach. Going the other way on the other hand is work.
A river’s source is much less familiar than its terminus. Fewer people are aware of where a river begins. Many more people sit on a bank of sand and watch the river flow than those who think about where it flows from. And many fewer than that ever do something tangible with such thoughts. Maybe it’s because the source, or headwaters of a river, are often difficult to trace and sometimes very difficult, like tracing anything else to its source, especially those things that have sources which seem to try awfully hard to hide the way there if you get my drift. There may be an area far upstream toward headwater country when the main channel branches off into several small streams which most often don’t have traffic signs and one must choose one or another and this may involve some or a lot of backtracking and getting familiar with tricky cricks that may only end in mud and much bugs.
Going downstream from a not so well defined source may have smaller streams converging into larger ones which become at a certain point a single channel. This is somewhat equivalent to capillaries. There may be a slightly larger small stream among the many when going upstream that can be traced to a single origin point and that’s what you’re looking for. The sources of some rivers are more defined than others.
Rivers obviously begin at higher ground and flow downward. It is often the case that major rivers fall fast in the beginning due to their headwaters being inconveniently located in what may effectively and certainly by comparison be the great white north in cold snowy icy mountain regions where rivers for some odd reason aren’t quite as much fun. You likely won’t find too many people up there having laid back family reunions with barbecue and little kids running around with arm floaties.
After rivers go through their contrary stage in the early going, falling fast and dangerous as if having no time to lose and needing to get somewhere yesterday, they start catching their breath a tad as the lay of the land becomes increasingly less pronounced and angled. The slope lessens and eventually flattens out in comparison to the upriver rocky waterfall stage. Some rivers reach areas where they spread out with very wide banks. What was once a clear and cold quickly running rivulet becomes a wide slow moving body of water appearing almost as a lake, kind of like a butterfly turning into a worm. The gradient continues to lessen over large stretches as the river at last approaches the place it was so fired up about reaching back in the beginning—the flat land of its ultimate destination in which it finally exhausts itself and goes to river heaven, pouring itself out with one last primal scream and a few deathbed prayers into a vast sea or the big bad ocean becoming one with all as it were. It may even decide on splitsville prior to exiting at its technical terminus, becoming a many branching delta as it might have been in the beginning and completing the river circle of life in that the many became one and then the many again. This is really philosophical but rivers, as you know, can be deep.
Thus, since water always seeks its own level, which explains why it was in such a gol-dern hurry at the start, the waters which begin in the high mountains always end their long winding descending journey at level (unless obstructed, usually artificially). This is why they call it sea level because water always has to level out. Once water escapes anything that may be holding it, from Lake Superior to a drinking glass, it will do its best to get flat as quickly as possible and the more of it there is the more this force is compounded. This is why sea level is the zero point and benchmark for all land elevations. It’s because the ocean is the place most rivers go to die where they simply can’t get any more level. I guess this makes them happy.
THE DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION
Information works the same way water works. It has a source. The source is often limited or even singular. The information chosen for authorized channels must be approved before being released and thus becomes official. Approved official knowledge or information then flows relatively quickly from the top down through hierarchical levels until reaching the initial lower levels of distribution. It is then disseminated throughout the flat land of the masses in which the information flow shifts from vertical to horizontal.
At this point information which once descended from a mysterious and largely unknown elevated source is shared laterally across a virtual plane. The receivers become the final distributors. Though the indoctrinated are blissfully unaware of the source or legitimacy of the information or the process of mental manipulation which they are undergoing, they accept the information presented to them as truth. They believe it and compel others to believe it. News spreads from person to person within the proverbial ocean of people. Cultural belief systems are created. Narratives are formed. And the majority are none the wiser that it was all planned that way.
Imagine therefore all the rivers of the land flowing into a single ocean at sea level. The waters of multiple rivers converge and mix together in the ocean waters. Again, it works the same way with information. The information is rarely vetted. It is assumed to be true. Next to no one ever goes on a perilous journey upriver seeking the source. Such can be extremely difficult. Many different terrains will be encountered along with whatever other dangers may lurk upon them such as hostile inhabitants or wild animals. Imagine getting into the high mountain regions presented with bottomless crevasses and vertical icy cliffs. Whoever the long ago down-streamers were, those non-indigenous to the unexplored high country, that discovered a major river’s headwaters were indeed the hardiest of souls. They were seeking the source.
As opposed to the ancient source seekers, the vast majority of the people downstream in gently sloping relatively flat regions and on the coast usually had no desire to discover where their water came from. They simply accepted the water for what it was, the life-giving element essential for all. In prior times when the earth was clean the water was also usually safe. People were not aware of the microscopic dangers inherent in some waters. Over the last two plus centuries when areas of the earth were subjected to industrialization and the pollution thereof, some waters became slightly polluted, but again, nobody understood the lurking danger. In areas of very high populations settled in a section of river in which the flow was not sufficient to overcome the pollution, many people came down with unexplained illnesses due to the higher concentration of pollutants in the water and many died. It became a serious problem.
Those were the days of unsanitary practices engaged in by relatively everyone. Very few ever made a connection between such practices and ill health. For example, it was the same during the Black Death in Europe in which great numbers died. No one had understood that unsanitary practices in the highly concentrated population centers attracted rats which had fleas which transferred disease to humans. Therefore, those who imbibed in dirty water had no clue that dirty water caused illness and death. The people who lived far upstream in small villages in which the river water was clear and cold had few such problems.
Though there were large systems of water distribution in ancient times among high population centers, some were upgraded significantly and became relatively modern engineering feats. A great example was ancient Rome. As the city grew larger in the first few centuries BC they began building long aqueducts from distant high ground many miles away which carried fresh water into the city. Many of these were built around the turn of the millennium under the rule of Augustus who had thoroughly modernized Rome. These aqueducts were built primarily for water distribution, however, and not necessarily for access to cleaner water though it was certainly of better quality than what they had previously. Most other large population centers in the ancient world never possessed the thought process or means of the ancient Romans, much less the engineering ability, to build such sanitary systems, and always struggled with disease and death by dirty water. And again, the problem was compounded by never understanding the connection. Lesser cultures suffered more than relatively enlightened ones.
Whatever knowledge in this field might have been gained by the first century AD was apparently lost once again as concentrated population centers continued suffering the effects of water pollution throughout the Middle Ages. It was not until modern times when water distribution became so advanced that much waterborne sickness and disease was eliminated. We have all seen the signs stating that a city’s water supply is “approved.” Municipalities and water districts make water quality literature available for the few who may be interested. One can peruse tables and charts containing the levels of remaining contaminants after filtration. One may also see something else. They may discover the levels of various chemicals added to the water to kill the contaminants. We are told that such industrial chemicals are at such a low level of concentration that they are harmless.
This has long since been proven to be false. That which is flowing through the distribution systems of our cities and towns is roughly equivalent to swimming pool water. Most people do not understand that such municipal water systems are self-contained in that whatever flows down the drain eventually returns through the tap. Drain water and its ingredients must go through multiple levels of high filtration to remove the many contaminants as best as possible and then the water is chemically treated before eventually returning for multiple uses including drinking. In other words, from the time such systems were first constructed the water has never been pure. Dirty water will get you relatively fast. Chemically treated water will likely get you later. In the past, people never made the connection between dirty water and disease. Today, most people do not understand the connection between chemical water and disease.
However, such a problem is comparatively benign compared to information pollution. Few people ever vet the sources of information they receive. Just as we are conditioned to believe that whatever comes out of a tap is perfectly safe, so are we conditioned to believe that everything presented on television, radio, and newspapers is true. You could say the same for history books. For Christians, you can say the same for pulpits. Few ever vet what comes from a pulpit. Even fewer vet the pulpit sources. The original sources and hierarchies that send the information through Christian distribution centers, including pulpits, are often completely unknown. Christians in general have historically been the equivalent of some guy reading a newspaper or watching TV news. The content is not only rarely or never questioned, the creators of the content remain unidentified and anonymous.
Of course, much Christian information comes through the distribution channels from denominational headquarters. And much comes from approved Christian literature through various Christian colleges and seminaries. But most Christians don’t know that or apparently care about the upstream vetting of these information sources. That which is chosen to distribute has agendas attached. There is much that is not chosen. Who is the arbiter? Who makes such decisions? The main final delivery connection point for most Christians, like a household faucet, is the local pulpit, but if the pulpit is ever vetted it is usually because the congregation insists on a particular denominational viewpoint. Sadly, Christian information sources are rarely properly vetted against the only Source that matters.
THE WATER OF LIFE
It is not possible for a Christian to be a well-informed disciple without attending the school of the Lord Jesus. The Lord has seen fit to preserve His written Word. Thus, by praying for Light and direction, and reading and studying the Lord’s actual teachings, one is effectively attending His school. This is the purest of all waters. Reading His Word can obviously be supplemented by accurate Bible preaching and teaching, and vetted Christian literature. There are several means of distribution of the Lord’s teachings but the emphasis must always be on His pure Word. Direct reading and study eliminates the middle man. It is the same as drinking from a perfectly pure mountain stream or cold water spring.
Consider those who were able to sit at the feet of the Lord Jesus. They were getting the pure Word directly from the Source. I highly recommend that those of you who have yet to have your initial Upper Room experience to seek it. It is where the originals first received the infilling of the Lord’s Holy Spirit. This is a gift to all but it must be sought. Rather than get your information from a downstream unfiltered and likely polluted source in which vital nutrients are missing and contaminants are present, I suggest all take a trip to the Mountain of the Lord to the very Source of the Water of Life. His Spirit will filter and vet everything and keep one from being misinformed and/or deceived.
The evidence is in one’s spiritual health. The Water of Life creates strong, healthy, and joyous disciples.
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. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 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. [John 7:37-39]
“‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.’” [Acts 2:17-18]
“Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” [Acts 2:33]
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb… [Revelation 22:1] 
© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound… [Romans 5:20]
I’ve been telling whoever will listen for many years now that America will have a spiritual awakening. Most people have told me they don’t share my optimism.
I wrote the following passage in the mid 1990’s:
IS AMERICA A CHRISTIAN NATION?
The price of compromise has been great. The United States of America is supposedly a Christian nation. Polls constantly show that at least ninety percent of the population refers to itself as “Christian” of some form or another. Yet, there is blood in the streets; there is an increasing number of kids who can’t learn; much of the population has discarded the idea of monogamy and have become so hedonistic in their relations they could learn morality from the example of numerous animal species; and diseases are coming out of the woodwork and running far ahead of treatments.
The country is enormously successful monetarily, especially compared to other nations, yet we are up to our ears in debt, and we fight from paycheck to paycheck to keep our head above water. For a Christian nation, something’s not right; someone’s dropping the ball. Illumined by the inescapable fact that we have churches on every street corner and airwaves saturated with Christian television and radio (these terms are used very loosely), we are in ridiculous shape if we are indeed a Christian nation.
I submit that we are not a Christian nation, not because we don’t consider ourselves Christian, but simply because we do not uphold the teachings of Jesus or live according to them. Instead, we live according to the twisted teachings of impostors, rogues, spiritual eunuchs, and pretenders. Professional clergymen are wholly responsible for bringing Christianity in America to this point since they are the ones who are largely responsible for teaching and interpreting the words of the Lord. If they were doing God’s will from such lofty places of authority, shouldn’t the effects show up in society as a whole if our society is indeed Christian?
If the ruling clergy class has been mandated by Jesus to be the movers and shakers of His teachings in this country, it has apparently messed up. Whatever guilt they do carry they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge, which makes correction impossible. This is why God is removing them—they refuse to act wholly on His behalf. And if you don’t think this is true, that they’re becoming history, check the stats. Their numbers are dwindling in this country, while the numbers of “nobodies” who simply want to do God’s will are rising dramatically. Will America be saved? No. But when certain people get out of the way and other people mature en masse, hundreds of thousands of hungry souls will find salvation, and America’s greatest great awakening will take place.
Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
No country or kingdom of man lasts forever. Only the kingdom of God will continue throughout eternity. The real kingdom has a righteous King. He is a righteous Judge. He speaks righteous Words. And His people are righteous.
And there are millions of such righteous people in America right now. They are not righteous by their own power, but by the grace of God. They have bowed the knee to the Lord Jesus and have honored Him as Lord and God. These people are a force to be reckoned with and they are currently finding their voice. Many have been disfellowshipped from dead churches and organizations that kicked the Lord out as well. Many others simply shook the dust off their feet and followed the Lord to freedom. These real believers have been through much pain and rejection but refused to die. They began forming real communities decades ago largely through a house church movement that swept the country that many organized Christian churches hated and still do.
And now that much healing and restoration has come to millions in God’s kingdom, though the country itself is more screwed up than it has possibly ever been, America is poised to experience what millions have been praying for for a long, long time.
The Great Awakening, though in its early stages, is here.
The proponents of this awakening are largely nobodies who toil in obscurity but toil nonetheless. And they will not be denied. Many have begun their own ministries, however humble, and are having a huge effect.
A well-known politician recently stated that journalists who do not draw a salary are not real journalists. Really? Well that sounds very familiar because clergyites have been saying the same thing for years with regard to what they term legitimate ministry and ministers:
You must be a member in good standing in a local church body.
You must have a license to preach.
You must be sanctioned by a ministerial governing board.
You must be backed by an official church.
You must be formally ordained by an official ministry or minister.
You must be a seminary graduate.
And on and on and on.
In other words, all the so-called real official legitimate ministers who sat around and continued using methods that don’t work or did very little or not nearly enough while America went down the drain—the equivalent of baling water with a bait bucket during a raging 500 year flood—are supposed to be the ones in charge? Haven’t they been in charge? And haven’t they and their dead traditional methods proved that as a general group they have little or no power with God to affect the required and demanded spiritual change?
Why is this so hard to see? If “real” ministers were obeying the Gospel directive and making real disciples that make a real difference than why is the country going to hell? And why does God give us idiots for leaders as a form of judgment? And why is He letting this once great country grovel in the dirt that it has created for itself by rejecting Him? And why do all the so-called legitimate ministers and reverends and priests and pastors have no clue about how to turn things around?
Perhaps it’s because they’ve been wasting and taking for granted the greatest resources the Lord has, and has been using them as little more than bench-warmers, cheerleaders, and primarily financial supporters.
As always, it’s the vast majority, the invisible, the humble people, the people who know exactly what they are—former sinners and derelicts and weaklings saved by God’s grace and empowered by His Spirit—who get most of the actual work done though they be treated condescendingly like children, junior members, replaceable parts, “lay people” (which at its heart is a contemptuous term invented and used by arrogant religious fatheads), and mere nameless faces in the crowd.
But even within clergydom there is a remnant. There are those who may or may not look the part but minister from within nonetheless. They would probably agree with this post, at least in part. God’s salt and light must be everywhere, and the credentialed big boys must have some live wires in their vicinity. (Keep up the good work but watch out for clergy spirits.)
THE WAY UP IS DOWN
“But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.
“They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.
“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.
“But the greatest among you shall be your servant.
“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:5-13]
The reason so many American churches are so dead and possess so little or no spiritual influence is because they have rejected God’s kingdom and method for entering that kingdom, and have created their own dead counterfeit kingdoms. And the worse thing of all is that not only have they refused to enter the real kingdom, they block those who are trying to get in!
Good luck explaining yourselves at the Judgment.
As a result, honest seekers of the Lord were forced to continue their trek looking for the door to the kingdom, and once the Lord Jesus became their Guide instead of the blind guides, they found the Door! And they grew and matured and came together in underground communities and small fellowships and in time became much stronger and influential than the big boys who rejected them.
They’re still obscure because they’re humble but they’re no longer spiritually weak. Instead, because they have been dining at the table of the Lord, they’re fighting and winning against demons all over the country and acting pretty much like their Lord and Master. But they don’t broadcast it because they don’t promote themselves. Instead, they promote the Lord. And because of this the Lord is bringing forth great victory.
Now, persecution in America will continue and grow. There’s nothing to be done about that. It goes with the territory. But you will see more and more Book of Acts style manifestations of the greatness of God and his ability to set people free, and huge numbers will be saved and added to the Lord’s community. And if you want to thank someone, thank the Lord Jesus first and then thank all the nobodies who quietly go about the work God has called them to with joy and love and spiritual strength.
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.”
Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. [1 Peter 3:8-16] 
We are currently in the greatest time of man’s history regarding the freedom of the press and religion. There are currently millions of writers, journalists, and bloggers in America who write about whatever they want to write about, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of these are Christians. And most are doing it for free. And the impact is massive.
The Digital Revolution and Information Age has opened up more and greater doors for the spread of God’s truth and the Gospel than ever before, and is in no doubt as great a catalyst toward spiritual freedom than the invention of the printing press in 1450, which greatly facilitated the Great Reformation.
Also, as food for thought in these times that try men’s souls (and then some), there would have been no American Revolution if there had not first been the first Great Awakening.
This is a tremendous time to be alive. Make the most of it.
“Put out into the deep water. . .” [Luke 5:4]
Catch a Wave!
© 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.