The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
[Isaiah 58:11 NIV]
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."
Likewise, to some extent, we are what we drink as well: various sources report that the human body is made up of somewhere between 60 and 90% water. Water is essential for life – human beings can survive many weeks without food, but only a few days without water – and the need is even more obvious in the heat of the desert, where natural resources are scarce.
Water, in scripture, often symbolizes the Holy Spirit, or God’s refreshing Presence, which is equally essential to sustaining spiritual life. (For example: John 7:39, Isaiah 32, Ezekiel 47, etc.) This week, we’ll explore some of what the Bible has to say about spiritual “drinking” - especially in those dry, deserted places we’ve been calling “spiritual wilderness.”
“Learning to drink in the desert” is possible because God is present everywhere and unlimited by circumstances, so our Source never runs dry. The words used to describe the flow of God’s Spirit to, in and upon us – words like “rain,” “rivers,” “outpouring” – indicate an abundant supply.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your rivers of delight. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
[Proverbs 11:25 NIV]
And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.
Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes, like a small child is my soul within me.
“Be still, and know that I am God…”
“…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
See, a King will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. The mind of the rash will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear. No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected. For the fool speaks folly, his mind is busy with evil: He practices ungodliness and spreads error concerning the LORD; the hungry he leaves empty and from the thirsty he withholds water... till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. Justice will dwell in the desert and righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
[Isaiah 32:1-6, 15-18 NIV]