The most remarkable thing about Yellowstone National Park is its abundance of geysers. The park hosts all kinds: active ones, semi-active ones, occasional ones, dormant ones, big ones, medium ones, small ones… And the list could go on.
But what exactly is a geyser?
It is basically a hot spring that periodically erupts, throwing hot water and steam into the air.
These are extremely uncommon on our planet and seem to be concentrated in five general areas. The first two are in the Southern Hemisphere, one in El Tatio, Chile, and the other in New Zealand. The next two general areas can be found in the far north. One is in Iceland, and the other has two primary locations in the far north, one on Umnak Island in Alaska, and the other on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Siberia. The fifth general area has three primary locations scattered across the American west: Beowawe Geyser Field, Nevada; Valley of Geysers, Steamboat Springs, Nevada; and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. In all, there are only about a thousand active geysers on our planet, and amazingly, over half of these are found within Yellowstone National Park!
In order for geysers to exist, there needs to be three elements: a large supply of water, a powerful source of heat, and unique plumping. Remove any one of these elements and you no longer have a geyser.
Now there is plenty of water on our planet. In fact, 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. And though heat is less frequent and is generally associated with volcanic activity, it is still a relatively common phenomenon.
So why aren’t there more geysers?
The answer lies in the fact that the “plumbing” is very rare.
A geyser’s plumbing has to be both water and pressure-tight. Any hole in the system and the geyser looses steam, literally! In addition, the majority of geyser fields on our planet contain rhyolite or similar silica-laden rocks.
As I was thinking about these facts, it occurred to me that we, as Christians, are not much different from geysers.
Let me explain.
First of all a Christian is someone who follows Jesus Christ with all of his heart, all of his soul and his whole being: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NIV)
Three elements are essential for a real Christian to exist. The first is repentance, the giving up on our sinful ways and turn our attention on our Saviour and Master Jesus Christ. “Unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:3 NIV) This is symbolized by the water necessary to make a geyser (see Matt 3:11; Acts 8:36);
The second element is a powerful and active love towards God and all of His creation. This is symbolized by the heat or fire necessary to make a geyser (see Luke 12:49). “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV); “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12 NIV)
The third essential element in a Christian life is a close relationship with our Saviour and Master. This is symbolized by the plumbing in the geyser. “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!'” (Luke 13:26-27 NIV); “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20 NIV)
Anyone lacking any one of these three elements is not a true follower of Jesus, the Messiah. A sad fact is that many proclaim to be Christians, but they are so in name only. Don’t we so often put our own will above that of our Master and Savior? So few allow themselves to be filled with divine love towards others. So few take the time to really get to know Jesus as their personal friend and Savior.
Is this why so many churches greet newcomers with indifference? Is this why so many churches are not growing in size and numbers? Is this why so many complain they can’t hear the Lord?
One old song makes the following heart clenching plea, a plea that many, if not all of humanity utters:
“I wanna know where love is…”
Just like a geyser needs water, heat and appropriate plumbing, a Christian cannot be truly a Christian if he never repents, never truly loves God and others, and does not have a regular personal relationship with Jesus. Nothing else is important. Programs, activities, sermons, weekly church gatherings, Bible studies… If one of the essential elements is missing, then these are insignificant in the light of eternity.
Are you filled with fire for Jesus and for those Jesus died for? Are you showing what real love is about? Are you a real “geyser” for Christ?
“For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt 7:13-14 NIV)