For 6 years I lived in a house where water ran in short supply. Some days a single flush of the toilet would drain the well dry. Circumstances like that tend to create a hyper-sensitivity to water’s source, supply, and squandering.
When I arrived in Jordan last month, I watched the vegetation grow scarce as I ascended up out of the Jordan River valley. I saw virtually no signs of water during the hours I journeyed south to the town of Petra. By the time I arrived, it was impossible for me to flush the toilet without wondering where the water would come from to refill the tank. I welcomed a shower, but reverted to my old water-saving habits. I wanted to know where the water came from in a place that averages 4-6 inches of rainfall per year.
Then I stood on top of Mount Nebo, opposite Jericho, where the Lord showed Moses all the promised land before Moses died. Overcast skies prevented me from seeing all that Moses saw, but my limited view showed me inhospitable desert land. My thoughts went straight to water. The people of Israel wandered in that wilderness. The people complained because there was no water.
“The people grumbled at Moses, saying ‘What shall we drink?'” (Exodus 15:24). “But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses” (Exodus 17:3a).
On it went as they wandered. I looked, and I related. I do not know that I would have done better than they. They who tasted God’s provision day after day. They who saw His power in so many miraculous signs, the power of a God who patiently waited for them to trust Him to meet each need. Every day he gave them food. Every time they thirsted, He provided them water to drink.
Then I think about Jesus telling a Samaritan woman at a well, where she had come to draw water, that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14). She immediately wanted the water He offered. And when she ran to tell others about the one she’d met and what he’d said she left her jar of water sitting by the well, never giving it a thought. Can you imagine a promise like that to people living in a thirsty land? To never thirst again? Unthinkable. And so desirable.
God’s people spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness, learning to desire One greater than a drink of water and trust Him fully. God wanted the people to see that He, Himself, was the stream of living water, quenching all their thirst, meeting all their needs. I have lived where there is no water, and have learned that there is One more desirable. One who meets my every true need, the very needs of my soul. I have drunk the living water and have found His promise true. May I never thirst again for water that doesn’t satisfy.
© Erika Rice 2014