Wall03I received the following question:

Can you help explain to me the example of God as being like the reservoir? Also, what is the Holy Spirit’s position in that example? And do you believe in the Trinity?

The example of a vast reservoir in a desert was first given by Otis Q. Sellers, that I know of. A man who is lost in the desert and dying of thirst stumbles upon the reservoir. However, it is surrounded by a great wall, which is too high and sheer for him to cross. He is only feet away from more water than he could ever need to survive, and yet he cannot access it because of the wall. He can smell the water, hear the water splashing, even taste the water on the air as it wafts to him over the wall. Yet all the time he cannot get to it. He needs that water to live, and yet it is totally out of his reach, though he is ever so close to it.

Yet as he travels along the wall hoping to find some way to access the vast pool of water within, he comes to a rise in the ground along the reservoir, and finds that on the top of this hill, because the reservoir is very full, the water has come out beyond the wall into a pool that lies alongside the wall. Now, the man is saved, for though he still cannot access the vast reservoir of life-giving water within the wall, he can access this pool that has formed outside its walls. This pool is an extension of the reservoir, and yet it is accessible to the man. He is able to drink from it, and be saved.

The water in the pool is indistinguishable from the water in the reservoir. If you took water from the pool and water from the reservoir, you would find they are the same. If you had instruments that could measure to that extent, more exact than any instruments we have could possibly measure, you would find that when you take water from the pool, that the level of the reservoir falls because of it. Yet the pool is an extension, and the reservoir a source.

So with the illustration of Jesus Christ. He is the extension out of the inaccessible God that we can look on, access, and be saved.

The Holy Spirit’s position in the reservoir example? Well, does there have to be one? The illustration of the reservoir is meant to explain the position of the Son, and does not really have to do with the Spirit. The Spirit I always explain as being the Giver of gifts, the Source of power, and the Worker of works. He is always connected with gifts, power, and works of God. He is the Worker part of God.

The lines do blur with Him too, however. When it says, “God is Spirit,” does this mean the Father, or the Holy Spirit, or both in the same one? The Spirit of God is called the “Spirit of Christ” in Romans 8:9 and I Peter 1:11. “The Spirit of Jesus Christ” is mentioned in Philippians 1:19. What then is the Lord Jesus’ relationship to the Spirit exactly? It is hard to say.

I tend to be cautious when expressing my opinion on the Trinity. The reason being that no matter how I answer the question, “Do you believe in the Trinity?” I will be misunderstood. That is, if I say that I do believe in the Trinity, I will immediately be classed as either believing in three Gods, which many (and even some Christians) seem to think the Trinity is all about, or else believing that the Father is the real “God,” the Son is His little boy, and the Spirit is kind of their sidekick. If, on the other hand, I say I do not believe in the Trinity, I know that in the minds of many I will immediately be classed with those who deny the deity of Christ, or with those who reject the virgin birth, or with those who believe the Spirit is “just a force,” and other such beliefs.

Because of this, I am always reluctant to answer this question, at least in a “yes” or “no” fashion. I think if someone accused me of believing in the Trinity, I would argue with him, and if someone accused me of not believing in the Trinity, I would argue with him. Or at least qualify those statements. I would rather explain what I believe, and let those I am speaking to determine whether they think I believe in the Trinity or not.

I do believe there is at least a germ of a truth in the idea behind the Trinity. I think I could accept the idea if it was stated in the right way. The fact that it is so often misunderstood and so often misapplied keeps me from feeling that it is a good idea to wholeheartedly accede to it.