Have you ever been in a real desert? Well, even if you haven’t, you have undoubtedly seen it in the movies, and you know it is very bare, very barren. There is only sand as far as the eye can see, with nothing—not a tree or even a shrub—to break the monotony of the landscape. If we get lost in the desert, we can run out of water and die.
This can describe the spiritual wilderness that we find ourselves in. When we spend a long time in the wilderness, we can get lost in it and lose all hope. For instance, when we have been sick for a long time, and there is no relief; when we have been out of a job for months, and we aren’t even getting called for interviews; when we have had addictions for years, and there seems no freedom in sight; or when we have harbored hurts for so long, hatred consumes us. These are all different wilderness states, and the longer we stay in them, the more hopeless it can seem. Running out of hope is like running out of water.
But like there are oases in the desert, there is an oasis in the spiritual wilderness. It is the spring of living water that Jesus invites us to drink from. “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink,” he says (John 7:37). How do we do this? The prophet Isaiah gives us some clues.
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you” (Isaiah 12:3-6).
The prophet lists six things to do. One, thank the Lord constantly. Two, call upon his name. Three, make the things that God has done for us known to others. Four, exalt his name. Five, sing to the Lord. Six, shout praises out aloud.
My dear friend, I know how empty one can get in the desert, how lonely it can feel, how sad we can become. Drinking the living water is the only thing that will get you through, especially in the darkest periods when you have practically given up all hope. It will not only refresh you; it will reinvigorate your spirit.
So, drink up now. And don’t stop!