THE VALLEYS AND THE MOUNTAINS
Deuteronomy says that these waters are flowing forth from the valleys and the mountains. What is the meaning of this? Obviously, without valleys and mountains no water will be flowing. If all the land is a plain, there will be no flow of water. What are the valleys and the mountains?
In 2 Corinthians 6:8-10 Paul mentions many contrasting things, many mountains and valleys:
Through glory and dishonor, through evil report and good report; as deceivers and yet true; as unknown and yet well known; as dying and yet behold we live; as being disciplined and yet not being put to death; as made sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things.
“Glory” is a mountain; “dishonor” is a valley. The “evil report” is a valley; the “good report” is a mountain. “As sorrowful”—a valley; “yet always rejoicing”—a mountain. “As poor”—another valley; “yet enriching many”—not only a mountain but a great mountain. Some thought that Paul was a deceiver. But he was as a deceiver and yet true; with the valley there was a mountain. In these verses there are at least nine pairs, nine valleys and nine mountains. These are the places from which the water may flow.
If you are someone without any mountains and valleys, if your life is just a plain, I am sure there will be no water flowing within you. The more you suffer, the more you will have flowing forth. The more you have been abased, the more evil reports are made about you, the more the water will flow.
Many times in the past years evil reports have been issued concerning me. Many times people have come to me and said, “Brother, there is one matter of which I am reluctant to speak.” Whenever people speak in this way, it is an evil report. When I hear this, I praise the Lord. I say, “Lord, I praise You, here is another valley; here is a valley for something more to flow forth from within.” I have received several good nicknames. Recently I was derisively called “the strongest exponent” of a certain thing. I was given this ‘honorable title.’ There have been all sorts of evil reports. But, praise the Lord, whenever there is a valley, there must be a mountain. This is certain. I am not afraid of an evil report. I know that after the evil report there will be a good report. The water of life flows forth in valleys and mountains. Oh, the life of Christ is unspeakably wonderful!
Whenever God ordains sorrow for you, be assured that rejoicing will follow. “As made sorrowful yet always rejoicing.” “As poor yet enriching many.” “As having nothing and yet possessing all things.” All these are the valleys and the mountains. “I know also,” said the apostle Paul, “how to be abased, and I know how to abound” (Phil. 4:11-12). He learned the secret. He knew how to be filled and how to be hungry. What is the secret? Oh, the secret is that Christ Himself is flowing within! I have learned, I have been instructed, I have been initiated. I know the living Christ that is within me.
All the valleys are the experiences of the cross, the experiences of the death of Christ, and all the mountains are the experiences of the Lord’s resurrection. A valley is the cross; a mountain is the resurrection. We must be one who always has some trouble, some valley, but also one who is always on the mountains, always in the experience of resurrection. Whenever there is a valley, there is a mountain. Whenever you experience the death of the cross, you will experience the resurrection. The living waters flow forth from all these experiences.
Let us look more closely at the passage in Deuteronomy 8:7. It says there that the water is “flowing forth in valleys and in mountains.” It does not say in the mountains and the valleys, but in the valleys and the mountains. First the valleys, then the mountains. Why? Because the first place you contact the flowing water is in the valleys. Then if you trace that stream up to its origin, you find that it springs from the mountains. The stream is in the valley, but the spring is in the mountains. If you would have something flowing out from within you to water others, you must be in the valleys.
I can never forget a story I heard when I was young. It has helped me greatly. The wife of one of the Lord’s servants died when she was very young, leaving eight children behind. He too was quite young, and this ordeal was a fiery trial to him. He suffered and he learned something through it. One day some years later, a brother lost his wife, and there were also some children left behind. This brother could not be comforted by anyone; he was exceedingly depressed by the death of his wife. Then the servant of the Lord came to see him. Immediately upon his arrival, the depressed brother said to him, “Brother, I am comforted, I am refreshed! You lost your wife and there were eight children left. I too lost my wife, but only four children were left. There is something coming out of you which refreshes and comforts me.”
If you can experience Christ in times of trouble and trial, how much you will have flowing out to others! How blessedly you will water others! It is not in peaceful times or in happy days that you can do this. It is in the days of sorrow, the days of sickness, the days of trouble. It is by your experience of Christ in these times that you may have the living flow to water others. Each situation of death may bring forth a greater outflow of refreshing water. Not only the mountains but also the valleys; not only the valleys but also the mountains. We need many experiences of the Lord’s death and many experiences of the Lord’s resurrection; then we will be full of the springs, the fountains, and the streams.
These are indeed sweet verses. It is a good land, a land of waterbrooks, of springs, and of deep waters, flowing forth in the valleys and the mountains. And it is by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and yet well known, as dying and yet we live, as sorrowful and yet always rejoicing, as poor and yet making many rich, as having nothing and yet possess ing all things. ( The All-inclusive Christ, pp. 43-46)