By O.C. Marler
“For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.”
I am emotional about the subject tonight for several reasons. One of them being, that I have felt ever since yesterday that I should preach on this subject tonight. When I feel that way, it’s like being anointed until its over. I feel that God wants to do something marvelous tonight as we talk about “The Scent of Water.”
I didn’t learn much in school. For instance, I took piano lessons one time. I went out to the old “Ag” building where they were having music lessons. Miss Brussard was teaching piano. I was taking piano lessons and it was kind of cold out there so I said, “Miss Brussard, would you like for me to build a fire?” (There was a fireplace there), and she said, “Yes, I would.” So I built a fire. The next day, I came back to take my piano lesson, and she said, “O.C., just come over and build a fire every morning. You don’t have to bother with the piano lessons, and we won’t say anything about it.” That’s as far as I got. But I did get a good grade. One of the lessons I remember in school (I can still see that book with the picture) was of roots, and how strong they could be. It showed how amazingly strong they are when reaching for their element. Roots will burst through concrete and break it. It showed a picture of a sidewalk and how roots had burst through and broken it. Pictures shoved how roots would climb. It had a picture of a root going way over a wall to find the water. Then it mentioned something like this, “its really not that it’s that strong, (it had a diagram of a girl taking a root and snapping it), but it’s that determined.”
I remember going into the woods and occasionally seeing trees that had been cut down. Same of them had been cut down for a long time, even to the point they were decaying at the top. But from the side or sometimes from the top of the stump, there would be that new shoot or branch that would come out of all that rottenness; because somewhere down there, below the surface there was a root that had found its element.
I want to take you back to the church when it was born. This church was depicted in scripture as a tree.
The tree that was the church had all kinds of beautiful leaves and all kinds of fruit. The tree sprouted on the Day of Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts. When the 120 people went up in the upper room and began to pray and seek the Lord; and suddenly there came a sound from heaven as a rushing mighty wind and filled all the pace where they were sitting. Cloven tongues like as of fire sat upon each of them and they began to speak with other tongues. They said, “men and brethren what should we do?” We see what you have done, what should we do?” And then in acts 2:38 the Apostle Peter stood up and said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for tie remission of sins, and you shall be filled with the holy ghost. “From that, the tree began to develop all of the fruit aid gifts of the spirit.
Everything was wonderful. The church was growing, thousands were receiving the Holy Ghost daily; until politicians got into it. When politics got into it, false doctrine was proclaimed. It finally came to the place where Constantine said, “In order for you to vote, you must be a member of the church.” People faked coming into the church so they could vote. Constantine was soon running the whole show (and he didn’t have a license.) The reason he eased up on the Christians was to get their votes, not because he cared about them. He supposedly saw a vision of a cross in the sky which meant “By this sign you shall conquer”. By 325 A.D. they decided by vote that people would no longer baptize in the Name of Jesus, but they would repeat the titles, “Father Son and Holy Ghost” in baptism, it took some off the tree. The farther it went, the more it was stripped away. The canker worm and the Palmer worm and every other worm came and devoured the tree, until it became nothing more than a dead, dry, formalistic stump. It was cut down, with no way to recognize it as the tree it once was. This put the world and the church into what is known as “The Dark Ages”, and the true church went underground into the catacombs of Rome. I’ve been to Rome. I walked there and I have seen the heads of men that gave their lives for this. Every kind of evil punishment imaginable to man was administered against the church of the living God . The false church rose up. When looking at the church from the ground all you could see was a dead, dry stump. There were no leaves, no fruit, nothing about it but decay.
But one day at a Bible College in Topeka Kansas, in the late 1800’s, they got to talking about the possibility of receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost like it said in the Book of Acts. After daily examinations of the Bible and many discussions, they came to the conclusion that the Holy Ghost, evidenced by speaking with tongues, was Biblical. So a few of the students began to pray about it; and finally it actually got to the place they couldn’t have class. The question was
everybody’s minds, “Would it be possible that I could be I lied like that, with the Holy Ghost?” They would start off class and say, “Now, we’re going to teach on such and such…”and somebody would raise a hand and ask the question, “What about this thing, the Holy Ghost? I can’t sleep at night. I’m thinking about it all the time.”
History tells us that one minute after midnight on New Years Eve, there was a little lady who got too close. A tender shoot jumped up out of that old dead, dry stump and she started speaking in other tongues. “Though the roots wax old in the earth and the stump thereof die in the ground, yet through the scent of water, it will bring forth boughs like a plant.” After all those years, that root was reaching for its element. It broke through; because underground was life! From that moment, revival began to spread. The church began to reseat itself, so from Maine to California, California to Louisiana, from Texas to Mexico, you couldn’t stop it!
A little boy visited a Pentecostal church. When he got home, he went to his parents’ room and said, “wake up, wake up, I got the Holy Ghost”! They said, “there ain’t any such thing”. He said, “then what am I going to do with it?” You can’t stop it! “Though the roots wax old in the earth and the stock die in the ground, yet through the scent: of water…”
In the great day of the feast, Jesus walked into the synagogue, sat down and began to read as was the custom. While He was reading, it came time for an era to change. Folks, when it gets time for an era to change, nobody can stop it! Jesus was doing everything according to custom. But when it came time for the era to change, the Bible says in John 7:37-39: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit (which they that believe on Him should receive)…” It’s just like the old song says, “Can’t no grave hold my body down”! There’s nothing that can hold anything down when God gets ready to tear everything loose. God can open doors that have been closed for 5000 years – no matter how rusty the hinges!
Everyone knows about tongues. Why is speaking in tongues so popular? When I was a young man growing up in Louisiana, we were the only ones that believed in talking in tongues. Bro. Urshan came down to our part of the Country years ago, sat in a barber chair in DeRidder, Louisiana when he asked, “Are there any Pentecostals around here?” The barber answered him, “Oh yes, Pentecostals and Johnson Grass are taking this country.” Of course, now, everybody knows about it. They may have a distorted view of some of it, but they know about it.
Let me tell you about the first “denominal” person who received the Holy Ghost in our part of the world, and as far as I know, in any part of the world. One day in a “denominal ” church in Montgomery, Louisiana, everyone was up around the altar for special consecration. A little lady had her eyes closed praying. The more she prayed, the better she felt; and the better she felt, the more she prayed. Until all at once, she got a little too close; and suddenly she started crying and then she started speaking in a language that nobody had ever heard and nobody wanted to hear! She started doing wig a little Holy Ghost gig. After all those years, it broke though denominational concrete, it climbed over denominal walls. It reached for its element and found the scent of water! The pastor had to go somewhere the next day, (I think to Alexandria, to the hospital) and he told his wife, “remember there’s the ladies’ prayer meeting today. I want you to watch that woman and square her away before I get back.” She said, “Okay, I’ll do my best”. When he got back that afternoon about 5:00 p.m., his wife met him at the car, red-eyed. He said, “What’s wrong?” She said, “Oh, nothing’s wrong. Everything is right!” He said, “Did you square that woman away?” His wife answered, “She squared me away”. Later, the pastor also received the Holy Ghost. It’s like Peter said at Cornelius’ house: “what can I say, when these have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” “Though The roots wax old in the earth and the stock die in the ground, yet through the scent of water it will bud and bring forth boughs like a plant.”
One night in one of our churches, the power of God started moving, and a man was sitting close to the front. When the altar call was made, he got up and went into the aisle to go toward the door; and all of a sudden he stopped and came toward the altar, and then he checked himself and began to go back toward the door. Then all of a sudden he turned and ran just as hard as he could, toward the altar. Forty Five minutes later, he had prayed, spoke in tongues and received such a marvelous experience. Then the pastor stood and said, “I want this brother to come and tell us what he has received tonight”. The man stood and said, ” I don’t know what I have received. To tell you the truth, I didn’t intend to come to church. I never go to church. But I was walking by the building tonight and all of a sudden there was a feeling that came over me. I felt like if I could just go inside, if I could just look inside, if I could just stand there a minute, I would feel better. So I came inside and it felt so good to be there, I came on up and sat down. The preacher began preaching tonight; and I didn’t intend to come up here. But all of a sudden a feeling came over me, ‘if you can just get up to the front of the church it would be just what you need.’ I tried to get away, but when I started up, it felt so good, I never felt like this before in my life”. That’s the drawing power of God. When a man is reaching for his element; he may fight sometimes, but if there’s something down inside of him, speaking to him, prodding him, he will reach and reach for God until he finds Him. The Scent of Water. “If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink.” John 7:37.
I had a friend who unknowingly had a backslider in the truck with him. As they were driving along to do some work they passed by a little Pentecostal church sitting up on some blocks way up on the hill. He looked over, and the guy with him had his handkerchief out and was dabbing at his eyes. The passenger said, “you’ll have to excuse me, but I was raised in that church there. Here lately, every time I pass it, something happens to me.” The Scent of Water.
John Mark was a Pentecostal. He was working in the church and all of a sudden he quit working with the church and went back to Jerusalem. He “went home to Momma”, and stayed 13 years. Then all at once, he sails back into the book of Acts. He said “I want to go on the second missionary journey. I missed the first one, but I want to catch the second lap.” Paul said, “You can’t go.” Barnabas said, “You can go.” Paul and Barnabas had a little argument about it, and finally Barnabas said, “Ok, he can go with me.” Paul said, “All right, I’ll take Silas and you take John Mark, we’ll split up and go different routes.” John Mark didn’t say anything , he just wanted to go. He just wanted to feel the touch of God again. He just wanted to preach one more time. He didn’t care if it was going to cost him his life, he didn’t care if he was going to get a beating in prison, he didn’t care if he was going to get shipwrecked, he didn’t care if he was going to have food in his mouth or not, all he wanted to do was one more time, feel the glory of God. The Scent of Water.
If you’re here tonight and you haven’t felt the presence of God for a while, I am reaching out to you. It is time for you to give everything over to the feeling down inside your heart.
My great uncle had about 12 or 13 kids and he named them all Bible names….Gideon, Paul, Ruth and on and on. They didn’t live for God. Well, one day, Gideon left and never came back. He was gone for years and years. Nobody heard from him. In fact, they figured he was dead. One day some of our relatives were in Beaumont, Texas and they came to a red light and there was a big 18 wheeler truck sitting there beside them. They looked up casually at the driver, and it was Gideon. They waved to him, he pulled into a restaurant parking lot, and they went into the restaurant to talk. Gideon was chain smoking. All of a sudden my cousin said, “Gideon, could I ask you a question?” He said, “Sure, go ahead, anything.” “Gideon, you know you haven’t been to church since you were a little boy, and I want to know, do you ever, at any time think of church?” Gideon ground his cigarette out, tears filled his eyes, and he said, “Man, you don’t know how much and how often.” He began to weep. When he gained his composure, he said, “I want to ask you a question that I have been wanting to ask somebody. What ever happened to old Bro. Smith, I remember him bringing us stuff to eat when we were hungry. Where is he? Is he alive? I also have wanted to ask, do people still holler “amen”? I’ve been wanting to hear that again. When preachers preach, do they still get excited?” “Though the roots wax old in the ground and the stock thereof dies in the ground, yet through the scent of water it will bring for boughs like a plant” Oh, that tender shoot will sprout again!
I want to talk to those of you who may be just about ready to give up on your kids. It looks like there is no way they’ll ever come back to God. You just keep pouring water on those roots. “As a hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee Oh God” Psalm 43:1. That little deer-like animal is running; and he’s thirsty. He doesn’t have time to worry about the archers. He’s too thirsty. He doesn’t have time to stop in a green cornfield, for he is too thirsty. So he stretches out every sinue. Every muscle is taut because he is going for water. You don’t know what your children are having to climb through. You don’t know what to do to help them. Just keep on watering. Just pour on the water!
A young man that got saved in our church was such a good boy. His father owned a service station, and he worked there for his dad. He read that Bible. Every time there was not a customer, he read his Bible. He was so faithful in every way. He was a clean cut young man. The time came when my wife and I felt impressed to leave the church and go another direction. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. He didn’t stay with God. He got involved in the world and married a Catholic girl; and quit coming to church altogether. Even though we were gone from there, we couldn’t help but feel kind of responsible for him. My wife and I prayed for him every day. We never heard from him. He never called. Five years went by, six and seven, nine years; and then one morning after ten years, early in the morning my phone rang. I answered it and the voice on the other end of the line said, “Rev. Marler, there is something wrong with my husband. He said you were the greatest friend he had. I think you’re going to have to help him.” I said, “What’s wrong?” She answered, “I don’t really know. He woke up crying this morning. I asked him what was wrong and he said, ‘well, you know, I never have talked to you about the church, but I have got to get back in it. I can’t stand it any longer’.” I said, “what did you tell him?” She said, “I told him, go ahead, if that’s what it will take to make you happy.” He said, “but there’s some things you don’t know. We don’t do this, and we don’t do that, and we don’t do the other; and we’ve had a financial struggle, but we are going to have to pay our tithes.” She said, “What is tithes?” He said, “That’s ten percent of our earnings”. She said, “I don’t care.” They had about 4 or 5 kids. I said, “there is a revival service going on tonight in Houston. You get them all ready and I am going to catch a plane; and when I get there, we are going to go to that revival. “She said, “I’ll do it.” I got there and she came to the door with their little “stair-step boys”, and said, “My husband got in late. He’s in there getting ready.” After about ten minutes he stepped out and instead of saying, “Well, Bro. Marler, how are you doing?” He screamed, “Bro. Marler, I’m going to get to go to church tonight!” Though the roots wax old in the earth… When we got to church, we walked in and it was dead. I mean it was a dead service. It was as dry as last year’s bird nest. But he was thirsty. He stood up against the wall and then took off for the altar. That place erupted and it wasn’t any time until he was speaking in tongues and prayed through again to the Holy Ghost, along with his wife and kids with their little hands lifted up to the Lord. Those little boys learned to quote more scriptures than anybody around.
This may seem farfetched, but you will just have to believe it, because I was there. A friend of mine and I went to a District Conference. After parking, we were on our way in to the church and there was a man standing by a new car. The preacher that I was with said, “Hey buddy, you got a new car.” The man said, “come over here and let me tell you about it.” Well, he didn’t invite me to listen. I wished now I would have just barged in and gone, but Momma always told me if I wasn’t invited, don’t go. I was sure Momma was looking. So I waited and waited while they talked. After a while, the preacher came back and said, “you are not going to believe what he told me”. He said he walked into a Chrysler dealership just to look at the new models. A well dressed man came over to him and said, “let me sell you one.” He said, “I am not here to buy, I am just here to look at the new models.” After a while they got to talking and the man said, “what do you do for a living?” The man said, “I am a preacher.” The salesman looked at him and said, “Now sir, if you can tell me what I am looking for, you don’t need to worry about a new car. I own several dealerships, all along here. “The preacher asked, “Well, what are you looking for?” He said, “I was taken to a church one morning on a bus when I was about seven years old. I went to Sunday School. In that class that day, they got to praying and I got to praying and I received an experience of some kind. My family moved before the next Sunday, and I never got to go back. I never have been able to find that experience; and I have looked for it all of my life.” The preacher said to him, “Now, you forget about giving me a car, but I will take you where you an find that experience.” Then he invited him to church. The man said, “Okay I will come Wednesday night.” (The preacher thought to himself, “Oh, boy, why couldn’t he come Sunday night when we have a bigger crowd and an evangelistic service?”) The preacher said to himself, I am not telling anybody about it, because if I tell the church people, they might not worship as well as they normally do. That Wednesday night, the man from the car dealership walked in late; and the people were worshiping and praising the Lord. Nobody noticed he was there. All of a sudden he put his arms up and started walking down the aisle talking to God. They all gathered around him and after he received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues, all he could say was, “I found it. I found it. God, you found me, God you found me! “Though the stock thereof die in the ground, yet through the scent of water…”
There is one church that says “give us your child until he is seven and we will give him back to you and he will never be anything else.” But we can say, “give us anybody at any age.” They may not always live for God, but in their hearts they will never be anything else. As the scripture says in John 7:38, “Out of their innermost being (belly) shall flow rivers of living water. This spake He of the spirit that they which believe on Him should receive.”
A concert was given in the honor of Beethoven, performing only music which he had composed. Afterwards he sat over in the corner with his head in his hands, dejected. Someone went to him to communicate with him. They said, “Beethoven, this is the greatest music that was ever played in any hall and you are the composer of it all. You should be happy.” Beethoven said, “you misunderstand. I am appreciative. Maybe you are right, maybe this is the best music that has ever been played; but I want to tell you why I am sad. The music that I heard in my heart and in my mind, I could not transpose to a piece of paper. There is music so far above this, that this will never seem like anything to me.”
Here tonight, if you have never received the Holy Ghost and you have been told that there is nothing to it; be sure that you have been told by somebody that has never had it. For even a backslider that has had the Holy Ghost at one time won’t say that. See, I would like to tell you about it. I knew the Holy Ghost was real because I had seen people get the Holy Ghost all my childhood. I thought it was so fantastic and so marvelous but I was afraid it would never happen to me. I didn’t think God would ever stop just for me. Even though I knew it was real. All of a sudden one night. I got a funny feeling, I got clammy-like, my tongue got thick and I thought I was going to say something that I wouldn’t know what it was. I was afraid to do it, afraid it would just be me. It kept building up and all of a sudden I said to myself, if it’s just me, I can’t hold it back any longer. When I started talking in tongues, it was the most exciting, wonderful, clean feeling. I felt like running, I felt like jumping, I felt like resting, and passing out. It is just a wide range of emotions. But as you see, I still can’t describe it to you. Every time I try to tell somebody about it, I just end up saying, “It’s joy unspeakable and full of glory; and the half has never yet been told!”
Though the tree be cut down. You know what happened to that tree, when that little lady began to pray through in the Spirit? It began to grow back. It began to put on all the fruit. That’s what we have now – a large, beautiful tree, laden with fruit. I want you that need God, you that are away from God, you that haven’t felt God lately, I want you to come right now. God has a .new era for you. It is time to change your life. Come on and bring somebody with you. I want you to be happy. You are too sad. It is time for you to get some joy. God is going to bring you all the way out. He is going to make you to rise and to walk in the newness of life. You have got a wonderful life in store for you, all you have to do is reach out and get it. He restores your soul. Just receive it tonight.
“Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud and bring forth boughs like a plant.” Job 14:8-9
The above article, “The Scent of Water” is written by O.C. Marler. The article was excerpted from the first chapter of Marler’s book The Scent of Water.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.