The Living Fountain for the Purple Rain
Robert Wurtz II
Has a nation changed its gods, Which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory For what does not profit. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, And be horribly afraid; Be very desolate,” says the LORD. “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:11-13 NKJV)
Truly it is astonishing and fearful to consider the indictment God charged the people with. They changed their Glory for what does not profit. They committed two separate evils: they forsook Jehovah, the fountain of living waters, And hewed themselves cisterns that were broken and could hold no water. It would be bad enough to hew a cistern to catch the rain that comes once in a while; but to take it a step more and make such shoddy work of their efforts as to have something that could not retain the little bit of rain that did fall – is indeed fearful and astonishing.
Obviously this is a metaphor for God as the source of living water – the agent who fills His people with His Holy Spirit. He is as a fountain. This is true particularly under the New Covenant where the Lord has declared that from our bellies would flow rivers of living water. This picture could not be plainer. God designed man to be a fountain head for His Spirit – a place from which He could pour out upon a dry and thirsty world. Imagine a desert place suddenly and miraculously receiving a fountain from which flowed fresh, clean, living water. It would not be long and the desert would begin to bloom and bear fruit. In contrast imagine Yellowstone Park suddenly being cut off from its many fountains of waters as well as the rain from above. How long do you suppose it will be before it is likewise a desert place? The difference between a garden and a desert is one thing: water.
The best definition of religion I have ever heard is “worship in the absence of God.” Like water in the desert, the Holy Spirit is essential to all that we do. The Holy Spirit is not a feeling or a goose bump. He is not the feeling you get when a power love ballad is playing on the radio. When the Holy Spirit is truly present, there will be fruit. There will be real evidence. There will be change that effects everything. There will be conviction of sin for the compromiser, joy for the weary, peace for the troubled and love shed abroad in every heart.
Nevertheless, a generation exchanged the true presence of the Lord for their own broken cistern. The glory of God was traded for the soulish feeling we experience while carried along by a moving instrumental piece – sacred or secular. The enemy said in effect, “Church – this is your God. This feeling you have right now as the electric piano plays softly and the emotions are soaring, this is the presence of God.” What a cheat! And since that time good musicians have been in high demand.
This is why musicians can come in to a meeting having not spent time alone in prayer, nor having lived holy through the week, and fool a generation into believing God “came” to the service with them as they began to exercise their musical talent. For those who never lived through an era where power ballads were the norm- they have no idea that these feelings are the music itself stimulating the mind and soul. It is not God. Granted, sometimes God can be present during such music, but we dare not call what the music is manufacturing in hearts and minds the presence of God.
Think I am over stating this? Give a listen to the video link below. It was recorded in 1983 and released in 1984. At about half way through the song the people begin to enter in and do what we typically call “worship.” With hands lifted they feel something – a presence – and it moves them powerfully.
Purple Rain – before it was worship.
Today many worship settings look just like this 1983-1984 club scene. Darkened crowd with hands raised. Prince Rogers Nelson leading the worshippers from the front. “Come on everybody lift your hands” he says from the lighted stage. Power chords or moving arrangements. Understand that nobody on earth “worshipped God” like this in 1983. Most (if not all) churches were still singing from a hymnal thirty years ago. Overhead projectors were not yet in their experimental phases in most churches. The laser printers necessary for printing the slides would not be affordable until the middle 1990’s.
Morover, this video is washed out and was originally filled with purple. Some may have called it almost spiritual. And no matter how angry my detractors get, it is still a counterfeit. And God has already said, Be astonished, O heavens, at this, And be horribly afraid; Be very desolate,” says the LORD. “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. Why keep fooling ourselves with these inadequacies? in these last days we must know the difference between the purple rain and the presence of God.
A Dead Generation
What happens when a living creature goes without water for long periods of time? It dies. What happens when a generation comes to believe they are receiving living water (the presence of God) when all they are getting is a counterfeit? They die. As a Gospel singer and musician, I must say that God does not come a running when we strike up the band. In fact, if we need the band, the amplifier, the sound system, or anything else- it is not the presence of God we are feeling – it is the stimulation caused by the electricity flowing through the speakers. It is death. Look at all the so-called Christian musicians that are dropping like flies.
From Ray Boltz to Jars of Clay, we have been carried along by musicians that practice or condone homosexuality! We have been carried along by people practicing adultery and fornication. Where was the discernment? How many more will come out of the closet before it’s over? And when they do, will we then realize and admit that God could have NEVER been back of what they purported to be worship? Would God come and set his seal of approval on people that were in rife sin? Not if the bible is to be believed. Will we then ask ourselves, then, what was I feeling when that person practicing and condoning an abomination to God was playing and singing? Or will we just keep on blaming the people who point these things out as “unloving” or “pharisees”? How much sin has to exist in the camp before a so-called Spirit filled believer gets tired of it?
When the presence of God came in the book of Acts, dreadful things happened. One hundred and twenty people left the upper room and turned the world upside down. The joy and fear of God was upon people. Yet, thousands of people show up for a worship services all over the world and had it not been advertised on Christian radio or mentioned on Facebook, nobody would have known they were in town. That is an awful discrepancy. How can we say that what happened in Acts is happening among us when were willing to see a generation continue on largely unchanged? Why are we settling for this broken cistern?
When God’s presence truly comes, people will become conscious of their sinfulness. They will strive to conform to God’s word. Sinners will cry out, “men and brethren, what must we do to be saved?” Getting there means we have to prepare the way of the Lord. We can’t condone sin and compromise, strike up the band and say “God’s here!” or “what a great meeting we had!” Have we gone mad? No meeting is a good meeting unless Christ is glorified and the saints are edified. How can we say God has come when we would rather change the standards than get to a place where the Spirit of God will change us to conform to the standard? But so long as we would rather glorify the music and the musicians we will see no move of God. These are not subtle things, they are evils. It’s like we have replaced the true presence of God with a cardboard cutout and said – “this is your God!”
Jeremiah was in for a long road. The revelation came that astonished the heavens in chapter 2 and he had 50 more to live through! What does that mean? Israel did not get the message. God showed them their problem, but they persisted obstinately just like today. People make excuses or name call the messenger. However, we must have God moving among us. Not something fake or pretending to be God. We need the wind of God in the sail. We need to be energized by the HOLY Spirit (emphasis on holy). Our man made machinery that gets on without God is an abomination. It’s a placebo in place of the thing we desperately need.