There are many metaphors that we have to describe the person and action of the Holy Spirit – Fire, wind, breath, water, dove, tongues. One of the images of the Holy Spirit that seems to be dominant is that of breath. The ruah (Hebrew; breath) of God seems to be present at the dawning of day where God’s breath hovered over the surface of the deep and gave birth to creation (Genesis 1). God breathed into man and he became living being. God breathed over the dry bones and life was given to them. Jesus breathed on the disciples in the Upper room and they received the Spirit.
Do you notice something about breath? Breath is vital for life. If you don’t breathe in oxygen you will die. We need to breathe in order to live. You can’t hold onto your breath forever. How long can you stay under water and need to rise above it in order to breathe? Just as fish need water to live and cars need gas to go, so we need to the breath of the Spirit to give us life. The breath of the spirit enlivens us to be living – human beings.
The vision given to Ezekiel is extraordinary. He is shown a valley of bones, he is asked to walk among the bones. Ezekiel notices that they are a vast amount, impossible to count. As Ezekiel spoke the word of life, according to the command of God, the dry bones become alive with skin and sinews, the bones now are flesh and make a vast army. Extraordinary! The vision is a prophecy for the people of Israel; they were once dry but were to be filled with the life giving breath of God. They were dried up from years in exile, a foreign land. They were dried up in their faith in God and his promises. They were bone-dry, good as dead, hopeless and in need of life. God sends them his life giving breath and renew their lives in faithfulness and obedience to him.
The vision is good for us. Often we feel like dry bones. Perhaps our relationship with God has become bone-dry. Our prayer, faith, spiritual efforts are seemingly dead as bones on the field that Ezekiel saw that day. Yet God’s power is so, that our bones become alive. We need the life giving Spirit to free us from death and give us life. Jesus says he has come to give life in abundance. What are we waiting for? Let us ask him to breathe his Spirit into our dryness and experience the liberating and life giving power of the Holy Spirit

Have you asked the Holy Spirit it give you life today

Breathe on me O breath of God and make my life anew. Amen