The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived. Isaiah 35:6–7 (NLT)
Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. Isaiah 35: 6b-8
West Texas is vast and hot; hundreds of miles of desert sand, punctuated by tumbleweed and a few stubborn cacti. Then, as if out of nowhere, Balmorhea, a vast underground spring bubbling up in the desert. There’s a crystal clear pool for swimming, scuba diving, and drinking surrounded by lush vegetation filled with birds, furry animals and people refreshed. The contrast is stunning. Life abounds at Balmorhea, yet a few miles away, it’s dry, hot and desolate.
So it is with our Heavenly Father. He gives us vast clear pools of living water through His Son — our Lord Jesus Christ. He prepares a raised highway in the desert on which we walk this life toward heaven. He promises this same, life giving, water on Judgment Day for us — His children. By His strength and in His Name, He is using us to provide that same example of His glory, earthly water, to His children in the desert of Kenya. Receive the living water of Jesus this day. Share it with others. See Jesus more clearly — our oasis in the parched desert of this fallen world.
Thoughts of hope, restoration, redemption, and salvation dance across my mind and through my heart as I read these Isaiah 35:1-10 There are promises of rest for the weary, strength for the feeble, brokenness made whole, refuge and relief from earthly woes when we finally arrive in Zion. These assurances keep my eyes focused heavenward and my love for God close to my heart because I know this will be my final destination when God calls me home.I wonder, however, what about a Christian’s daily life as we walk the Highway of Holiness? 1 Peter 5:7 talks about casting all of your cares at God’s feet and Paul says we are to pray while giving praise to God in all circumstances (Philippians 4:6). By engaging in these behaviors, other promises are bestowed: first, our problems will be solved with the help of God, and secondly,
“God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ” Philippians 4:7 Amplified.
We can give “new life” to the people of Kenya by creating a means for “their desert” to be wiped out by providing a means to gather water, (“the Oasis), and all that God promises.
List the current circumstances of your coming week. Pray and give God praise over each one. Include Kenya’s circumstances in your prayers.
All living things need water, which not only sustains life but enables it to flourish. A desert given just a small amount of rain can blossom with an astounding variety of flora; beauty that lies dormant until awakened by life giving rain.
Desert and water illustrations in scripture are symbols of barrenness and life that would have deeply resonated with a Bible people who wandered in a desert for forty years, but how many of us in this congregation have known sustained thirst? Have had to walk miles every day to gather water or had to boil it to ensure its safety? In fact we are often wasteful and even apathetic to its abundance in our here and now.
Yet there are things other than water for which we thirst. As Christians we thirst to know and serve God. In Psalm 42:1 the psalmist writes “As the deer pants for water so my soul pants for you oh God”. When we serve God we not only move toward satiating this thirst to know and be nearer to him but we can be the blessing of water for others.
As we prepare our hearts for Christ this Advent season let us give thanks for the water that so freely pours from our faucets and fills our rivers and lakes. May he satisfy our thirst to draw nearer to him and may we be a blessing to those who seek Him and thirst for sources of safe, clean water.
Do you remember watching movies where a parched man stumbling through an arid desert? He looks like he’s about to give up …….but wait…...far off in the distance he sees a few trees signaling an oasis – water ahead. Seeing it he summons his last bit of energy and moves in its direction. Reaching the spot he “saw”, he realizes it is a mirage – an unfulfilled hope in his imagination.
During years of drought the people of Kenya struggle to find an “oasis” too. They lack water for their everyday needs and agriculture and are surrounded with thirst and drought. This year’s Advent Conspiracy allows us to band together with Lutheran World Relief and bring technology and new techniques to help alleviate their suffering. We can teach them to use sand dams, wells, drought resistant seed and strategic planning for drought years, etc. We will be able to help them find sustainable water sources and bring them the good news of the living, never ending water God promises though Jesus.
Throughout scripture, God uses water to express many things: the giving of new life -especially through Baptism, creation, relief, redemption, forgiveness, and images of eternal life. Go on a water search by reading and pondering: Gen.1:6-8, Psalm 1, Psalm 23, Isaiah 48:21, Zechariah 14:8, John 7:37-38, Ephesians 5:26, I Peter 3:21, Revelation 21:6.
In His mercy and love, God gives us water for both temporal and spiritual refreshment and salvation. Give Him thanks now and share it with others, especially the people of Kenya!
When the time’s ripe, I answer you. When victory’s due, I help you. I form you and use you to reconnect the people with me, to put the land in order, to resettle families on the ruined properties. I tell prisoners, ‘Come on out. You’re free!’ and those huddled in fear, ‘It’s all right. It’s safe now.’ There’ll be foodstands along all the roads, picnics on all the hills— Nobody hungry, nobody thirsty, shade from the sun, shelter from the wind, For the Compassionate One guides them, takes them to the best springs. Isaiah 49:8-10 MSG
We take water so for granted. It’s there whenever you turn on the tap. We even stuff an extra bottle in the carryall on the way out the door. If drought comes, we complain about the water bill that keeps the lawn green.
This passage from Isaiah says that there are times of thirst, a dry headache that tells us we’re missing something. A thirsty soul that God promises to quench.
Kenya’s experience of persistent drought teaches us something to put into motion this Advent. Use these thoughts as prayer points.
-Savor every drop of God’s presence in your life. Don’t let any of it run off unused. -We have something that can refresh our “dry” neighbors this Advent season. Offer them a cup of God’s presence. -Sometimes people have been dry for so long, they’ve forgotten how to use water when they get it. Give someone a persistent soaking in Gods love. -A well placed dam helps divert water to where it is needed. Notice any detours God gives you to see where you are needed.
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