Editor's Note: This is a two-part article. Check out part 1 at this link.
What Is the River?
"Then the angel showed me the river of water of life, flowing with water clear as crystal, continuously pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Rev 22:1 TPT)
Instead of just opening up a window and pouring His life-giving water upon humanity, God wants to pour through His representatives. The Word tells us we are already there, sitting in heaven (Eph. 2:6). As children of God, we are at this very moment in the throne room. This is the same room where the waters of life flow from under the heavenly throne. That we can be in two places at once is mind-boggling, but God is beyond the laws of space and time.
"Then suddenly my longings transported me. My divine desire brought me next to my beloved prince, sitting with him in his royal chariot. We were lifted up together!" (Song 6:12).
Something happens when we approach God only to love Him. The experience becomes less of a business meeting and more of an affectionate encounter. Our longings will bring us so close to Him that we will find ourselves sitting next to Him in His chariot. (Who doesn't want a flying chariot ride?) We must shed our agendas and allow our love and desire to connect us to Him. And with open hearts, the Holy Spirit will fill us. Sure, the blessings and spiritual gifts will follow, but only after we value a love relationship with the King first.
As we jump into the river and receive His love with our hearts, simultaneously we become fountains of life to those on earth. God will water the earth when we learn to open the doors of our hearts. Like portable floodgates, we will bring life to our regions.
We access the river when we open our hearts to giving and receiving love from God. It's that simple! We don't need a specific combination of songs and prayers to receive from heaven. Once we wait on God and open our hearts to His love, something amazing takes place in the spirit. The atmosphere of heaven becomes the air we breathe, and the very river which flows from the throne bubbles up within our bellies.
When I put into practice the advice God gave me, I found that tuning in to His love brought me immediately into His presence. There was no more striving just believing and receiving. In turn, I grew more sensitive to His closeness. Before, when I was seeking an experience, I didn't realize I had an agenda. As glorious as heavenly chills are, they are not Him, and He wants us to desire Him first.
"Be still and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10a, MEV).
Knowing that our spiritual hearts and the floodgates of heaven exist in our core can help us visualize giving and receiving God's love. We may not see the exchange, but by faith, we can understand where it's happening.
It helps to place your hand on your stomach when you want to tap into heaven's river. Your hand will be a reminder that seeking God is to be done with the heart and not the mind. I encourage you to put on a worship song and find a comfortable spot where you can be still. Put your hand on your belly and envision the Father's love filling your heart. For the rest of the song, resist the urge to pray as you give the Holy Spirit control. When you do this, you are training your heart to tune in to His frequency and allowing Him to transform your very being with His adoration (2 Thess. 3:5).
God wants us to be drinking, not thinking. We must turn off our self-conscious thoughts and be vulnerable with our hearts. It takes a measure of humility to allow God in to see the good, the bad and the ugly. For many, accepting the love of the Father is difficult. Don't give up. If you are consistent, over time the Holy Spirit can turn any stony heart to a heart of flesh. Our only job when we are soaking up His river is to be: be in love, be ourselves, be cherished, be transformed, be still.
We can only pour out what we are filled with. If we are full of God's love, then love will be the life-giving waters that spring from our fountains. It has always been His plan to partner with us and heal this world through us. As we tap in to heaven, we are allowing rivers of living water to burst from within us onto others. Everything we do should look and smell like love, because we've become saturated in it. And there's no reason we should ever break our link to the river. It's possible to remain in His presence in the store, at work and in the car. It doesn't matter where we are as long as we love and recognize we are loved by God.
I urge you to practice focusing in on God's love until living waters flow from your heart. This is our cue. It's solely up to us to become inhabited with His love. There is no plan B. He has chosen us, an emotionally imperfect race of people, to carry out His plan. The fields of the coming harvest need rain, and we're the fountains for the job.
Shanna Barberio is a worship leader at Cornerstone Church in Amite, Louisiana. For 25 years she has served in worship as a vocalist and pianist. She carries a passion for the presence of God and loves to incorporate intercession and spiritual warfare in her worship. Shanna is also a recording artist, and has written numerous worship songs inspired by the Holy Spirit. Check out her new book, Heaven's Frequency: Tuning in to the Heartbeat of God at this link.
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