“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” -John 7:38 (NIV)

I was praying with a small group of pastors and ministry leaders at the Together-in-Christ meeting this past Wednesday morning. One of the pastors (whose church is going through tough times similar to what we have been experiencing at FCF) shared this story that I found encouraging. He said that as he was in the middle of praying for relief from some trying circumstances, God told him to check on two citrus trees that he had planted a few years ago. When God brought this thought to his mind, he immediately realized that he had failed to protect the roots from the cold winter last year. He said that in order to protect a citrus tree from the freezing winter, one should surround the base of the tree with a mound of dirt. A careful check of the trees showed no sign of life. He was pretty certain that his failure to protect the trees the previous winter had killed them.

But, then God told him to water the trees. When he told God that he believed the trees were dead, God told him these exact words: “Water the death of vision.” And so, he began to water the trees daily. The trees that normally flower in February and March sat lifeless through June and July. But, every time he thought of stopping the watering process, the Lord reminded him to continue to “water the death of vision.”

And then, in the middle of August, he saw two new shoots on the grapefruit tree, followed by a new shoot on the orange tree a week later. What appeared to be dead was watered daily out of obedience to God, and long after the normal Spring flowering had come and gone, new life was evident.

The pastor said that God was telling him that this was a picture of his ministry. Even after others had considered his ministry dead, he was called by God to water the death of vision. And through his obedience, God revived what others said was dead. The pastor asked me if I was going through something similar and I had to answer in the affirmative. “Well,” he said, “water the death of vision. While others try to take your vision away or claim that your vision is dead, be faithful in continuing to water the vision. And God will breathe new life into what He had always purposed you to do.”

What an incredible word from the Lord at a time when I needed it most.