Sweet Siloas of Scripture
The good minister confidently pours out his sermon as if it were water to refresh the dry souls of men; he sees it as light that provides understanding for the minds of mortal humanity. He never thinks in terms of using the scripture as a tool to generate contention, or deception or the deconstruction of doctrine, values, ethics and morals. The good minister sees the Word as precious and forever settled (Psalm 119:89). A good minister may sense his own limited understanding, but to him, the Word of God is never a tool to be wielded in self-exaltation, academic subjugation or political manipulation. The good minister certainly does not administer the Word of God for his own aggrandizement, concocting a bitter potion melded with his own limited wisdom that corrupts the very meaning and power of the Word. He does not use the Word to incite contention or to generate questions (1 Timothy 1:4).
However one may view Revelation chapter 8, consider for a moment the possible meaning, significance and symbolism of the “great star” called Wormwood, which falls from the heavens and brings death.
“And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter” (Revelation 8:10-11).
The poet William Wordsworth captures the profound consequences of the contaminating influence of this celestial object. The star was great, it was like a lamp that illuminated and guided, but it had grave counter effects. “And ‘wormwood,’ though medicinal in some cases, if used as ordinary water would not only be disagreeable to the taste, but also fatal to life: so ‘heretical wormwood changes the sweet Siloas of Scripture into deadly Marahs’” (Wordsworth in A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown, 1882).
To illustrate the painful paradox, Wordsworth references the descriptive language of the book of Exodus. “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah” (Exodus 15:23). The despair that must have swept through the Israelite camp, when after three days of walking through the dry wilderness they came to water only to find it contaminated, useless to quench their great thirst.
If we dare, we might think of this infamous great star called Wormwood as a teacher, an illuminator – a preacher who is evil. This evildoer dares to change the “Sweet Siloas of Scripture.” The pool, the satisfying waters of refreshing, a source of life, is manipulated by the same person who could have used it to aid his flock, to help the thirsting souls in his care. Yet, the “preacher,” the “man of God” uses what could bring life to instead bring death.
We have to admit to ourselves that “Siloas of Scripture” are under attack. We are used to identifying the enemy as some outside entity that we work together to defend against. We battle worldliness, we war against cultural chaos and the moral decay of Judeo-Christian values; and of course these are ongoing issues. But ask yourself: Am I defending myself against “Wormwood?” Are we guarding ourselves against sophisticated obfuscations of doctrine? We must be mindful of the words spoken by the holy prophets (2 Peter 3). We cannot allow Wormwood to poison the well. The “Sweet Siloas of Scripture” must be protected.
The importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the revelation of the mighty God in Christ are vital truths. The book of Acts is our road map to revival and revelation. We must never deviate. As good ministers of the Gospel we must approach our teaching and preaching of the Word of God from a position of strength, not weakness. We must inspire confidence, not confusion. Saying we are Apostolic does not make us Apostolic. The Catholic Church sees itself as Apostolic in authority, to speak for Christ. But when we say we are Apostolic we mean that we adhere to the “Apostles’ Doctrine” (Romans 6:17, Jude 1:3).
If the “Sweet Siloas of Scripture” are attacked by human opinion that operates apart from the interests of unity, kindness, anointing, true revelation and prayer, then we will not fulfill our destiny of Apostolic Pentecostal revival. If we choose to allow ourselves to be drawn in to the bright lights of deceptive stars, our future will be relegated to a pointless battleground of personal opinion and continuous division, a mere stage for displaying our own knowledge, or lack thereof. The Scriptures must not be manipulated to further human agenda, for when they are – they become “Wormwood.” They bring death rather than life.