“Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.” (Psalm 107:4-6 ESV)
Do you ever feel like you are wandering? Kind of going through life listless and without purpose. Passion has wained and you can’t quite see any hope over the horizon. This was reality for Israel in the wilderness. Wandering, nearing forgetting the promise of a land for them to dwell in. All they could construct for themselves were small shacks hardly capable of keeping the cold out and easy to disassemble for the next day’s journey. It was a physical reality that broke them inside. Their soul fainted.
For us, maybe the reality is not physical in the same way but oh man do we understand the sense of our souls fainting. I don’t even have to describe it to you. The unknown. Lack of security. A numbing of our world. We feel disconnected. Anxious. Helpless. Lonely. Our soul becomes the desert waste. It is the feeling like we don’t quite know ourselves, and don’t believe anything of what God says about us.
We go through seasons of dryness. We don’t expect them, nor do we hope for them. But they come. And when they arrive, our hope is the same as Israel’s, to cry out for deliverance. What’s more, we also have water readily available to quench the parched ground of our souls.
For that we visit the city that was promised the wandering people, Jerusalem. It is the first century and there is a feast, the feast of booths. It is a pilgrimage feast so Jews from all over are in the city to commemorate the wilderness wandering of God’s people and their learning to trust in his will. There is much symbolism to this feast, they sleep in little handmade shacks, and pour out water as provision on the altar. And Jesus is there, under accusation of the religious leaders, purposed to declare good news.
“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39 ESV)
On the last day of the feast, when the priests would pour water to symbolize God’s provision of water from the rock in the wilderness, Jesus makes a bold declaration. If anyone is thirsty, if anyone feels dry, like they are hopeless, come to him and drink. Drink deeply. Believe in him and the Spirit will turn on the well of your heart to overflow with living water, to overflow with Jesus. Jesus says he is the water.
Elsewhere, Paul with describe the wilderness and those wandering in it, “For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4 ESV) Jesus is the provision, he is the thirst-quencher, he is the spiritual irrigation. And he still stands shouting, “If anyone thirsts, let him or her come to me and drink!” It is in the drinking where relief is had. Water without price, freely given, able to reinvigorate.
Today, whether you are feeling the heat of a parched soul, or are confidently drenched in Jesus, drink some more.
Jesus, quench our thirst. Water our souls by your Spirit. Give us hope and purpose. Irrigate our hearts that we will see fruit. You are our rock and our water. Amen.