They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out.
The dry places.
We all wander them from time to time.
Jesus spent His time there.
The Israelites ambled there for forty years.
The desert serves as a strong visual reminder of the necessity of water for the sustaining of life. Whatever has a bit of life to it in the desert is the fortunate recipient of water's presence. And whatever is dry and brown and bare is evidence of its absence.
I think it's why God had His people, His prophets and His Son spend time there.
For a reminder. A reminder on the absolute truth of His provision, His sustenance.
Even in the dry places.
I hiked throughout a dry landscape this time last week. Scrambling over huge boulders. Kicking up dust. Taking in vistas. Pondering the geological record. Listening. Being still. Being quiet.
My allergy prone sinuses opened in the application of dehydrated drafts. To breathe in afresh without the population of pollen. And my skin seemed to wizen before my eyes, a glimpse of the possible future of my largest organ, the history of sun and wind speaking on my epidermis.
Everywhere around me arid affirmation of the challenges in surviving in such an environment.
The granite boulders stood quiet around my impromptu sanctuary, their shadows the walls of my prayer closet.
That night, it rained.
Buckets. Copious cloudbursts. Thunder as percussion. Drops as timpani.
I had Mike climb with me the next day during a cloud break, back to the path I had traversed the day before.
We arrived to a scene changed.
Where the path had been dusty the day before, it was now a soft cushion of pebble and soil. Where dry trenches had etched the earth the day before, there were now small reservoirs. Cacti had plumped up in the flooding feast. Dew clung to bristles, baubles of sapphire, ruby and diamond sparkling in hesitant sunlight.
And the boulders.
Overnight, they had donned vests of green.
In my previous climb, the dried ash of lichen clung to the coarse surfaces of the crags. But in one pouring, that which was depleted and desiccated had burst into mossy softness.
Just add water.
The stony places of my heart, the places I keep fixated on the dry, searing heat of hurts, they still bear the remnants of something softer, something with life. It seems a shadow at best, a shading of rocky places.
But He comes to water, to wash me in the Word.
Sometimes the refreshing seems immediate.
Sometimes, the dew of the Word takes a while to soak into my sapped surfaces.
But after the thunder rolls and the clouds break, you can see His imprint there. Green, Fresh. Life. Clinging to the rough patches of my heart.
Even in the desert, He gardens.
Even in the desert, He waters.
Even in the desert, He makes life grow.