“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water”
Desert places play a significant role in the lives of God’s people.
Moses, after fleeing from Egypt, became a shepherd and led his flock ‘to the far side of the desert’ where he had his encounter with God in the burning bush on the slopes of Mount Horeb. David wrote this psalm in the desert of Judah – on his way to becoming the greatest of Israel’s kings. John the Baptist ‘became strong in spirit and lived in the desert places until he appeared publically to Israel.’ Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit from His baptism in the Jordan into the desert ‘where for forty days He was tempted.’
Whether physical deserts or spiritual ones they are not places of ease and comfort. They can be ‘dry and weary’ places, times of hardship and soul-searching, places of death or new life. They can turn us in upon ourselves or cause us to reach and cry out for God as David describes. They test our faith and with God’s help draw us into a deeper, stronger and more peaceful relationship with Him.
By definition ‘there is no water’ in the desert. Yet as God showed the Israelites He is capable of producing it when He wants to. More importantly, as Jesus taught the woman at the well, He is able and willing to give us ‘living water.’
“whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
Our desert experiences are very real. They can be times of real blessing, healing and growth as God works with us and within us – for the desert does not mean that He has abandoned us. And if we feel that the water of life has leaked from us then we need to ask God for a new infilling of His Spirit as well as praying for the faith and strength to carry us through to the other side.
Jesus Christ is with me always – even in the desert places.
Lord God, whether beside still waters or in the dry and desert places You are with me always. Please help me to stay close to You and to trust You for all of my life and my living. Amen.