Isaiah 35:6b-7 - For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water.
Much of California and Arizona is naturally desert without irrigation. Those who live there realize how precious water is. Cacti grow in the yard, and in the extreme heat the ground cracks where the pond used to be. All the toads move underground. Long showers are out of the question, and the water bill is a constant concern.
Water was an even bigger concern for the people of Israel and Judah in Isaiah's day. If the rain came when it was supposed to, all was well with the crops. But even in a good year, people depended on wells and cisterns. There simply weren't many rivers or streams that lasted all year long. Lots of them dried up when the rainy season ended.
There are times when our hearts may feel like a desert -- dry, cracked, almost lifeless. It's hard to live in a spiritual desert, as we wait on God to come and bring new life. In the meantime, we endure, like those toads underground, waiting for the next rains. It isn't fun. Sometimes we wonder if the dry time will ever end -- if God has forgotten us, or if maybe (perish the thought) He was never there in the first place.
It was to people like us that Isaiah was speaking. God had not forgotten, He promised, "Say to those who have an anxious heart, 'Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you'" (Isaiah 35:4).
Isaiah was promising the coming of Jesus, who is our Source of life. He is our Maker, but He is also the One who suffered and died for us so that we might share in His everlasting life. Now that He has risen from the dead, Jesus gives living water to everyone who trusts in Him.
Jesus said, "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.'" The Gospel writer John explains, "Now this He (Jesus) said about the Spirit ...." (John 7:37-39). Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to His people at Pentecost, and He continues to give the Holy Spirit to all of us who believe in Him now. Even in our driest times, the Spirit is with us, sustaining us, strengthening us, and keeping us in Christ.
This doesn't mean we don't still have dry times -- we do. We are by nature desert, just like the deserts of California or Arizona. But God has made waters to break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. God knows our need, and He supplies us when we need it most. Let us keep trusting Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, how often we find ourselves in deserts of our own making. Refresh us with your living Word; keep us healthy through Your Spirit who makes life happen, even in the most unlikely places. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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