“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1, NIV)
Have you ever been so thirsty that your tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth and you felt like you might choke from the lack of moisture? Think of a hot August afternoon when the temperature peaks past 100 degrees and there doesn’t seem to be a glass big enough to hold the water you need to drink. Has your skin ever felt so dry that you think it might just crack or it itches and no amount of scratching brings relief? Think of a cold winter day when the furnace dries the air, your skin is stretched tight and the bottle of Nivea cream just went empty. This is what it feels like to face complete spiritual dryness that parches the soul.
David’s words echo to us from the barren desert where he is hiding from his enemies and longing for the presence of God to comfort him. He speaks of a deep spiritual thirst and a physical aching for God to nourish and sooth him. David’s longing is not unlike our own. I believe we all have a deep hunger and thirst for God in our lives. I also believe that we often fail to acknowledge this longing and mask it behind the busy-ness of life. We don’t want to admit when we really need God; we are too accustomed to being self-reliant. If we surrender to God we might appear weak or we might have to turn away from something we really enjoy. What we forget is this from Proverbs 3:6, “In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” In other words, if we surrender our selves to God our spiritual hunger and thirst will be satisfied.
The season of Lent reminds us that we live in the desert of a culture where the presence of God is needed to comfort, teach, and guide. There is a spiritual hunger and thirst for healing and wholeness. It seems that we cannot watch the news or read the newspaper without encountering “a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Spiritual dryness surrounds diplomatic relations around the globe, political maneuvering in Washington, and even the witness of the church. The two great commandments to love God and love others have been overshadowed by self-serving desires to make the biggest impact and have the last word. It doesn’t seem to matter if we do the “right thing” as long as we give in to the loudest voice or make the biggest profit. God’s will has little bearing on our decision-making anymore and the needs of the least among us are simply ignored. This is spiritual dryness that chokes us as people of God.
Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let them come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:37-38, NIV) This living water is God’s gift to us to satisfy the kind of thirst and longing David had. This living water is available to everyone, free of charge, to sooth and to heal the dry, cracked land that wants to keep us away from God. Our challenge is to be sure that we fill ourselves with the living water and satisfy our own thirsty souls. Then we have everything we need to go out and share this nourishment with others. As the Body of Christ we are obligated to care for the health of the Body. We are called to nourish the body of believers and provide a witness to others who seek to be satisfied. We cannot simply be content to bask in the luxury of the love God shows to us; we must carry the living water out into those dry places…to that “dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Lent is the perfect time for us to journey out of the desert and into the oasis of God’s Living Water. If we do, we will be prepared to greet the Risen Christ and carry resurrection healing to a dry and weary land.