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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

A Dream & a River

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Yosemite National Park, Kiana Anderson

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!

People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house;

you give them drink from your river of delights.

For with you is the fountain of life;

in your light we see light.

Psalm 36:7-9

Last week I had a dream. The kind you experience and remember and puzzle about for days after. It was about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is Love. This phrase repeated again and again. The Spirit is Love. And the Spirit was also water. In my dream…a river of water…a river of love…flowing from one scene to the next, and each scene was a season of my own life with God.

Even as I was dreaming I was cognizant of meaning. Word pictures intertwined with intellectual awareness. I knew the source of the Living Water. I was aware of its theological context. The seminary class I’d just finished, and the paper I’d written. Spirit and Church and Living Water.

The Spirit is Love. I could recall the exact quote from my textbook, and how the author* had suggested the Holy Spirit is the connection of Triune love between Father and Son…flowing in and through God’s people.

In my dream the Spirit took me back in time, through seasons of my actual life. He showed me how LOVE had been present. Movements of deep worship and intimacy with Jesus. And the more I loved God, the more I loved people. The more I loved people, the more I loved God. One way and the other, a winding river.

Before the dream, God had already given much of this to me in PRAYER. A few days prior. The prayer of spiritual battle. Prayer of release. Prayerfully shifting perspective.

“God, show me. Who is thirsty? And how can I be a vessel for your Living Water?”

In my dream the Spirit gently convicted. Showing me a season of love turned inward. Love of SELF blocking the flow of the river. I saw and I knew. I knew the truth. And I also knew I could always trust him to redirect the flow.

Release of a river. A battle won. A physical sensation in the dark of night. Throughout my body, an energizing sense of the Spirit’s love.

One more thing. In my dream, I was reminded of another dream. Years ago:

I was sitting at a massive farmhouse table, surrounded by young women, teens maybe, and young adults, or maybe both. And there was brokenness at this table. I knew some of the stories, and I’d seen the scars. The pain was deep. I was trying to say something, I knew it was important. Something like, “His beauty will save you,” and as soon as I said it, the girl on my left, the one whose scars crisscrossed her legs, broke into sobs, weeping and wailing. I knew, in my dream, these were the tears of one whose healing had started. And then I woke up.

And I wondered how the two dreams were connected.

Two days later I woke again from sleep, this time with a song going through my head. (There was a season, a decade ago, when God woke me nearly every morning with a song of worship.) This time the song was somewhat unfamiliar. I was vaguely aware of a bit of refrain, a line of melody, a lyric or two. Words about living water… and a levee. Enough to find the song online. And again, I’m rather stunned. And I wonder.

Taking note and paying attention.

Living Water

By Shane & Shane

Dry bones right now

Breathe in, breathe out

No more drinking the dirt, I'm thirsty

Oh, sprit of resurrection

Flowing through me

You've made me a new creation, how can it be?

Living water deep within me

Saturate my soul

Like a river, break the levee

Let it overflow

I could never have too much of Your love

Your love, oh

Living water deep within me

Saturate my soul

One life soon past

Only what's done for You will last

So break on this dry ground

Spring a well from the inside out

Living water deep within me…

Holy Spirit

Holy presence

You have changed the atmosphere here in my chest

Holy well-spring

What's in store

I am longing for more

Living water deep within me

Saturate my soul

Like a river break the levee

Let it overflow

I could never have too much of Your love

Your love

Living water deep within me

Saturate my soul

*Theology for the Community of God by Stanley J. Grenz

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