He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. Psalm 107:35 ESV
Most of us have the luxury of being able to fill a glass of water from the tap and drink it. Some of us can pack a glass full of ice and get cold water from the dispenser located on the outside of our refrigerator at home. I guess it’s a first-world problem when we complain about the icemaker freezing up or if we recognize the little red light reminding us the water filter needs to be changed again. I bet you could tell me a story of how refreshing a cool drink of water felt on a hot day after mowing the lawn, riding rollercoasters all day at a theme park or after playing soccer for hours during a weekend tournament. Isn’t it interesting how parched we can get while just lying on the beach or fishing for hours from the boat?
Every summer we hear harrowing reports from people who miraculously emerge from being lost in the wilderness. Try to imagine the astonishing effects of water as it quenches a shriveled body that has been wandering in the desert for days. Intense feelings of desperation and then exhilaration come to mind. The human body cannot go very long without water. Our lives depend on it. Thirst signals us when we are depleted. It is the body’s early warning system. We can feel tired, cold all the time and lose our mental concentration. Dehydration can be dangerous over time. We put our major organs at risk and the complex systems designed to keep us humming along at optimum health become stressed or irritated without sufficient water. But, we don’t have to wander in the desert to experience dehydration. Physicians and researchers tell us many of our chronic physical ailments are due to insufficient hydration. I’ve known more than a few people who returned from the doctor’s office visit disappointed because their physician told them the solution to their problem was to drink more water. So, let me encourage you to listen to the doctor. Drink more water.
The wilderness can be a desolate place filled with chaos and danger. But, it’s not limited to a geographic location. The bible refers to the wilderness as a spiritual metaphor where people learn to trust and rely on God. I've felt isolated and desperate more than once as I wandered through a spiritual wilderness on my own. But I can assure you the wilderness can also be a place of spiritual refinement and where we can find God. I know I did. My time in the desert taught me many things. For a refreshing perspective, I included a video from Ray Vanderlaan titled Walking with God in the Desert. *** Ray is one of my favorite biblical scholars and teachers. I met Ray in Israel while I was teaching about the variety of Temple stones at the base of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. I hope you learn something rejuvenating from Ray.
Sunday is the last message from the Summer Survival Guide Series titled Stay Hydrated: the Practice of Being Present to God. We will celebrate baptisms at both campuses this weekend. How refreshing. Isn’t God good? See you Sunday. Stay hydrated.