This is the second article on the theme “The importance of imagination”. The first article (from 30 September ’19) is also available in this section.


“Whoever believes in me … rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

By this he [Jesus] meant the Spirit” (John 7:38-39, NIV).


In this wonderful image, Jesus is teaching that those who believe in Him can rely on His presence within them for ever in the form of the Holy Spirit – the eternal wellspring of living water.  This vivid image also enables us to imagine and contemplate the activity of the Holy Spirit within us, as well as the outwards flow of the Spirit from our innermost being out into the world.

(The Greek word translated “from within them” in this verse literally means “belly” and can also be translated as “heart” and “innermost being”).

It is awesome to contemplate that God, the creator of the universe, who put 100 billion galaxies in place, not only desires to indwell each of us by His Spirit but also invites us to work together with Him to impact the world.  Staggering – but true!

It defies human logic and takes us into a different realm altogether. It lifts us out of the Old Covenant where God is “out there”, and sweeps us up into the New Covenant which is permeated by Immanuel – the omnipresent Christ: “‘Behold, the virgin shall … bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matt. 1:23).

So, in the light of the truth that our identity is now in Christ, and that Christ is in us, making each of us “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19), we have faith to believe that we can truly be co-workers with God (1 Cor. 3:9) in our daily lives.

We cannot go wrong if we base our work, prayers and intercessions upon the Word of God. As an illustration, using the key text in this article – that rivers of living water will flow from within those who believe in Jesus – we can use our God-given imaginations in a powerful way to intercede for people and situations.



For example, we can imagine rivers of water (the Holy Spirit) flowing out from our body into the place where we happen to be, or somewhere we are thinking about. That could be anywhere – a hospital, workplace, family, social situations, needs in other countries and so forth.

In a hospital, for instance, we can start by visualising the rivers of water/Holy Spirit billowing out from us in all directions.  We are prayerfully aware that the healing power of the Spirit is flooding every person, room and corner of the hospital with love, joy and peace.

We can do this in any situation, and we thus have the privilege of being co-workers with God to help usher in the characteristics and qualities of His Kingdom.

The key to this prayerful work is first to establish our identity in Christ by contemplating the scriptures that speak of our new nature, such as “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). This is the process of renewing our minds (Rom. 12:2) which aligns us with God’s truth and His will for us, and, progressively, it enables the Life of Christ – His Holy Spirit – to flow unhindered out into the world to heal and to bring Life and transformation.

All to His Glory!




Ann Shakespeare

Welcome to the Ann Shakespeare blog. Ann, a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, BBC World Service and The Daily Journal, is currently involved in editing and writing on Christian themes. She also ministers in a local ecumenical centre which provides prayer and pastoral support.

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