Summary: Powerful teaching of a Chinese Christian leader calling the church to greater devotion and service.
I recently read the autobiography (Heavenly Man) of Brother Yun, a dissident underground Chinese church pastor that now lives in Germany.
I bought Living Water when I first heard about Brother Yun and started it twice but did not get far each time. After reading his autobiography and giving context to his life and teaching I finished Living Water. This seems to be mostly adapted sermons that have been structured together as a book. I listened to it as an audiobook, so maybe that format makes it seem more sermon-like. But each chapter is mostly self contained and there is some repetition of stories and examples between chapters, so that contributes to the sermon feel.
This is a book of readable, but heavy, teaching. It is not a feel-good, breeze-right-through book. It is not all that long (a bit over 8 hours in audio, 320 pages in paper.) But I spent a couple weeks listening to this on and off and pushed through the last half of the book in two days.
Brother Yun is right. The western church is weak. It is mostly made up of people that are reluctant to share about Christ and even more reluctant to follow Christ fully. I would certainly count myself among that number. But unlike some western authors that have been saying the same thing all along (I think of David Platt’s Radical), there is a level of grace and humility, and more importantly lived ministry, here that I really do think gives even more weight to his words.
He speaks against western leadership models, of spending so much time and effort on the church building and so little time outside of it. But even more important he spends time talking about the heart, our commitment to Christ, pressing in on our commitment to God and challenging us to pray and be filled with the words of scripture (but not over intelletuallizing and becoming trapped by a feeling of inadequacy).
This is a very challenging book. I think that most people should read Heavenly Man first and then Living Water.
Here is a YouTube video of Brother Yun speaking (mostly of his story of his escape from prison and related teaching).
- The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway (bookwi.se)