Parched and Dry
Imagine for just a moment that you and your hiking companions have become lost and have wandered for days in a desert. The sun has been fierce and your skin has been scorched by the blast furnace like effect of the blowing sand. This dry foreboding place has extracted every drop of moisture from your body. With your eyes now sunken in your head and your throat parched and tongue dry and swollen, you fall to the ground scarcely able to utter a sound to alert your comrades of your dire condition. As you begin to slip into an unconscious state the last thing you see are the vultures circling overhead.
Thankfully most of us have never experienced this type of physical condition. But maybe all of us have had a spiritual experience like what I described above.
Deserts are defined by their lack of water. Survival experts explain that in order to live in the harsh conditions of a desert a person must ration sweat, not water. They make is abundantly clear that by using the available water correctly, one can greatly increase his or her chance for survival. Now here comes the important part. Sipping water does not get it to the brain and vital organs. They emphasize that you should “take a good drink when you need it.” People have been found dead from dehydration with water in their canteens.
There is no doubt that water is essential to human life. It accounts for well over half our total weight and it plays an essential role in sustaining life. It facilitates the physiological and chemical processes essential to life. Water helps to regulate our body temperatures and it serves as a transportation medium carrying essential nutrients and oxygen throughout our bodies. Water is equally essential to our souls. And Jesus is our sustaining water.
If you feel like your prayer life or even your overall spiritual life is currently in a dry spot, don’t give up. Spiritually speaking there may be times when it is okay to wander in the desert for a while.
Many of the stories in the Bible are set in the desert. Two of those stories are worth mentioning here. The chosen people wandered in the desert for 40 years and Jesus was tested in the desert for 40 days. Should it surprise us that if God’s chosen people and the Son of God Himself spent time in the desert that we too might have to spend some time there?
We must not let an important point sneak by us. Number 32:13 tells us God made His chosen people wander in the desert for forty years because they were chasing after the wrong things in life, and Matthew 4:1 tells us: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” precisely because the Father loved Him. Think about this. The verse above follows immediately after we read this in Matthew 3:17: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Leading your Son into a desert immediately after saying you are pleased with Him is a strange reaction of a loving Father …….or is it?
Like Jesus being led into the desert, perhaps we too are currently in a spiritual desert because God loves us enough that He wants us there for a reason, currently unknown to us, but for one that is in our best interest. Some flowers like the Queen Of The Night only bloom in the desert and these unique and rare flowers only bloom one night a year. Maybe God has led you into the desert because He is preparing you to bloom at this specific time in your life.
There can be another reason why we are in a desert. Perhaps we led ourselves there, just like the chosen people who wandered in the desert, by chasing a mirage. A mirage is an optical illusion caused by atmospheric conditions, especially the appearance of water in a desert. Many dry and parched people in a desert have wandered aimlessly only to discover their destination was a mirage. What about us? Are we chasing after the wrong things in life? Are earthly illusions drawing us further into dry sands?
Please allow me to restate my point. We might be in a desert at this time in our life because God has led us there or we might have placed ourselves in the desert by pursuing the false mirages of life. In either event we need the same thing. We need to take a deep thirst quenching gulp of the only truly sustaining water. We need to drink from the deep and endless well of Jesus Christ.
What are we thirsting for? ONLY JESUS IS THE EVERLASTING WATER!
John 4: 13-15 tells us this: “Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.””
The survival experts told us to take a good drink of water rather than just sipping it. Let’s heed their advice. Let’s call out to Jesus today in prayer and say: “Give me your water that I may never be thirsty again,” then drink well my friends, drink well!
“My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God. O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.” PS 63:2, 3-4, 5-6
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Brian, deserts (bottoms, so to speak) can lead us to grace. It is an unceasing, unquenchable and the penultimate source of our personal salvation while here on earth.
Like Gold tested in fire….deserts can lead to spectacular blooms on beautiful flowers. Grace is the key!
Well stated, much to think about which I like.
Thank you Michael.