Tag Archives: living water

Empty Shelves

Living in Florida means living with the threat of hurricanes. In preparation for the arrival of a forecasted hurricane, I went to the store to stock up on essentials. I quickly realized I was not the only person doing so! In fact, it was obvious many had already done so! This was four days before the forecasted arrival of the hurricane, and the bread shelves were already bare.

Another aisle of shelves that was nearly empty was the bottled water aisle. We were warned to stock up on water in case the water out of the tap became undrinkable. People certainly had heeded the warning! Fortunately, for us in Florida, the hurricane missed us.

The experience of the empty bread shelves and water shelves clearly indicates the importance of bread and water. If bread and water are the basic provisions for physical survival, then what would be their counterpart in the realm of spiritual health? What are the bread and water for the soul?

We have many options for trying to fill this deepest hunger and thirst. Often, we mix our own personal cocktail of these. Sometimes, we opt for that which is outright harmful such as over drinking, drug use, or pornography.

At other times, when we feel empty, alone, fearful, joyless, bored or whatever, we opt for that which is not necessarily bad, and sometimes is actually good. We go for our favorite comfort food, watch TV, go to the movies, read a novel, go shopping, spend time on a favorite hobby, or try to gain the attention and affirmation of others. We attempt to make such things our primary source of gratification, satisfaction, or fulfillment, and they’re not up to the task. They can be good for us but can never be the best for us!

So back to the fundamental question: what’s to be the bread and water for the soul? Most everyone agrees that Jesus was one of the greatest spiritual teachers of all time. He taught on this subject of what’s to be the bread and water in the spiritual part of our lives. Astonishingly, He taught that He is this bread and water!

On a regular basis I’ll pray, “Lord, I want you to be my bread and water.” I need this reminder that He is to be my all in all, my greatest satisfaction.

In our pre-hurricane prep we shoppers didn’t go to the shelves that stocked electronic devices, books, toys, tools, or candy. We went for the shelves that stocked bread and water! In a crisis we know what we need most. Wise are we when we realize this even when not in a crisis!

“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” John 6:35

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Panting for Water, Panting for God

deermedWhenever I see a deer I think of those amazing words of the psalmist (his words are recorded as Psalm 42:1) where he says his soul pants for God like a deer pants for a stream of water. I thought of these words when I took the accompanying photo of a deer.

It seems to me that the most likely time a deer pants for water is after he’s run for his life across meadow and through woods to escape from a predator. Once beyond danger the deer slows, panting, searching for water, and when he finds it, cautiously lowers his head to drink deeply. The psalmist says that his soul pants for God like this. I want to as well, to have my soul pant after God. You too?

It’s easy to go panting after a lot of different things in life. We can pant for acceptance from others, for success, for freedom from ill health, for being comfortable financially, for sexual experiences, for get-away vacations, and the list continues. Some of these things are good things and some, well, it depends on the situation, and some are downright bad and sinful. No matter what the enticement, we should aim for our greatest desire to be for God, to pant after Him as a deer pants for water!

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” (Psalm 42:1)

Digging a Well in Your Desert

Quotable Quote

“Your task is to dig wells in your desert.”

Eugene Peterson

My brother Mark drills wells, water wells, for a living. I have one of his discarded drill bits –  it makes for a great paperweight, a really big and heavy paperweight!

Wherever people live they need water. Digging a well anywhere is challenging enough (that’s what my brother tells me) but to drill a well in a desert has got to be the greatest of all challenges.

We can all describe certain times in our lives that were desert experiences, times when life was dreary or even draining and there seemed to be little refreshment or renewal available. We can wish life were like a Garden of Eden where everything is lush and good. Someday, God promises us in His Bible, that the new heaven and new earth will be this way. But, for now, we live between that long ago Garden of Eden and that future new heaven and earth; for now we live in a fallen world that is often more like a desert than anything else.

People can find some measure of refreshment in a variety of ways – watch a movie, take a nap, solve a puzzle, watch sports, go out to eat, and the list goes on. Such efforts work, sort of.

There is, however, a way to dig wells in our deserts that really works. Jesus made it clear that our ultimate refreshment comes from the One who gave us life in the first place. Yes, the One who gave us life is the One who can refresh us in life. Jesus said to a woman with whom He had a conversation at a well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but 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 4:13-14)

Here, then, is the way to look at it: When we invite Christ to be at the very center of our being, at the core of who we are, then He’s within us. We don’t have to go looking for renewed energy from somewhere else. He is our refreshment, re-hydrating us with Himself. He is our well within. Go deep with Him, again and again!

“Your task is to dig wells in your desert.”

Refreshment Within

What can keep us going when all that is around us is draining us? While touring the Holy Land years ago I recall seeing a long tunnel of over 1,700 feet that had been built by the great king Hezekiah around 700 B.C. The tunnel was cut through rock to bring water from the Gihon spring outside the city to a place within the walls of the city. With a continual supply of flowing water within its walls the city was in a far greater position to defend itself against a prolonged assault.

 

On this blog I recently had a post about the time Jesus told a woman at a well, “Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) He was sharing with her how He could be an unending, unquenchable, source of refreshment for people.

 

We face all kinds of dry times in life. Problems, people, and even possibilities can dehydrate our souls. We need an ultimate source of refreshment and this can be none other than God, the only inexhaustible source of energy in the universe. This doesn’t means we don’t need the affirmation and help of others. We do. Relationships require give and take, and when someone takes more than they give it’s no fun for the one on the short end. But in the end, at the end of the day, our ultimate source needs to be God.

 

Living each day with this truth is key. If we fixate on our lack then we’re contributing to our own defeat. It’s when we focus on God as our ultimate supply that we can best deal with this imperfect life. It doesn’t take us out of our desert experience, but such a way of looking at each day can help us get through our desert! When we have the Lord within we have a flow of refreshment that will see us through!

(photo I took of a bubbling aerator at the pond in the Toledo Botanical Gardens)