It really was the trip of a lifetime. A pilgrimage. Spending just over a week in Israel and a few days in Jordan changed my life forever. One thing is certain, from the moment our flight landed in Tel Aviv, my journey as a believer had connected with a land and a people closer to my real ‘home’ than ever before or since. The Word became even more real to me and its never read the same to me since.
Today, I was reading Isaiah 58:11, “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.” A couple memories from that pilgrimage came back to me so clearly. One day while traveling through a desert area our tour guide pointed out areas of green that stood out against the mostly dry, desert land. He said ‘wherever you see green, vibrant, lush vegetation and flowers that is how you know there is a water source below.’
It doesn’t rain much there. So in the cities and in the villages you will see barrels, tubs and pots on rooftops to catch whatever rain they can. Water is a commodity. At one restaurant I noticed the waitstaff pouring any leftover water from glasses into the planters around the patio, not wasting a drop. In fact, when we were leaving after dinner one evening, our waiter actually followed me out to the sidewalk to hand me my bottle of water that had an inch or so left in the bottom. Water is vital to sustain life. And often, I have taken it for granted.
I admit, this weekend, I let my attention be captivated by the ‘sun-scorched land’ and not nearly enough focus on the One whose waters never fail. I heard the whisper today…’whose report will you believe?’. I know that Voice. That’s the voice of my Father. And as I sat with this promise for awhile today I am thankful for His peace that speaks over the noise and waters my soul.
We could stop with the first part of that verse. ‘The Lord will guide you always‘. That means there is never a time when He is not leading us. That alone can bring us comfort.
But, let’s continue. ‘He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.’ He knows we are needy and that we sometimes find ourselves beat down by our environment, our harsh circumstances, the voices that try to quench the life in us and around us. But, if we are open to Him, He will not leave us needy and He will add HIS strength to ours to uphold us.
And finally, ‘You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.’ I LOVE that, don’t you?! In my mind I could see that desert in Israel again. So much desert for miles and miles. And dropped right in the middle of that sun-scorched land….areas of lush, green flourishing gardens…an obvious outward sign of an unseen water supply deep below the surface.
Dig deep. The green vegetation experiences the same harsh environment that the brown, dead desert plantation does. But the thriving garden digs down deep and stays connected to the water source. Dig deep and stay connected to the source of the water for your soul. Even from a distance your well-watered roots will be undeniable and your fruit will be beautiful…even in the desert.