The Willow by the Watercourses


We are a denomination that is Jesus centered, and may that never stop. Increasingly, I hear people referring to us as a Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family. I celebrate this!

One of the favorite things I inherited from my dad’s office after his death was the series Christ in the Bible by A. B. Simpson, the founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance. In the Isaiah edition, Simpson writes something very interesting:

Another fine illustration of the fruit of the Spirit is the willow by the watercourses. The most remarkable thing about the willow is that it cannot live apart from the watercourses, and so the Christian cannot live without the Holy Ghost.

He goes on to tell a story about a gardener who tried for a year to shape a willow by pruning and slashing its lopsided branches, because the willow wanted to grow all to one side and was quite bare on the other. In vain he pruned, and he slashed, but the willow persisted to grow one direction.

One day he took a spade and dug down below the roots of the tree and then he found that a subterranean stream was running on the side to which the willow leaned. It simply followed the fountain that fed its life. He put away his pruning knife, and he dug a little channel for the river around the other side of the tree, and lo, next year it grew toward the river and became symmetrical and beautiful without a touch of violence.

Beloved, that is what we need to change the deformities of our lives; not more trying, not more suffering, not more scolding, not more condemning of ourselves, but more life, more help, more love, more of the precious grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Ghost.

The C&MA’s mission as described in Acts 1:8 is very important—be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth—but not without the first half. We are empowered when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. As the Alliance family, may we grow increasingly dependent on the work of the Spirit in our lives.

As we begin this new year, I remain passionate about inviting you into this Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family—focused on Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, sent to every segment of human society, and doing it together.

3 responses to The Willow by the Watercourses

  1. It prompted me to pray for my son who needs the flow of the Spirit more than ever. Please pray for him.

  2. An unforgettable story, Pastor Stumbo! If you ever find yourself in the Northeastern District, I hope to meet you again. Mark liked your editorial also and sends his greetings for the new year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Past Alliance Life Issues


Get Involved...


We cannot “Live the Call Together” unless prayer is central to all we do.
Pray with us »


Is God calling you to service? We’re here to help you connect your passion with God’s purpose.
Serve with The Alliance »


Help build Christ’s Church by supporting the ministry and workers of The Alliance.
Give today »