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desert

Thirsty.

Have you ever been thirsty? Whenever I consider this word, thirsty, it brings to my mind images of a desert. A land of dry, hardened, cracked soil. A place where if anything is alive it is just barely making it. I imagine a land where life is thin and stunted, where growth is almost impossible. And hope… Hope seems beyond reach in this place of dryness.  In this place there can only be thirst.

There are those for whom life and living is only hardness. Lives of hearts that are dry and cracked where hope and joy have departed and only thirst remains. Now I know at this point most will automatically associate what I am writing to the life of an unsaved person, and rightly so. But I would have you not limit these words to only the unconverted. This place of thirst can also be (and is) occupied by men and women who have professed a life given over to Christ. How can this be!?! Do we not read that our God is a fountain of life?

Psalm 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

And further we are told if we come to Him and drink we will never thirst . . .

John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Is it not recorded that Jesus stood and proclaimed . . .

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

Yes. Yes. And yes. So how can I say that the Christian can be found dwelling in a land of desert, parched and thirsty? We, (and I must admit the “we” in confessing that I too have found myself in this place before ‘to my own disdain’), we enter into this realm of dryness when we cease to stop drinking from that Fountain of Life. How does this come about?

Is it due to lack of study?  A failing to pray? Maybe.

I could answer yes as easily as I could answer no. There have been times where I have found myself in a thirsty place during periods of intense study, and without any decrease in prayer. However, when I begin to examine myself I find the study engaged or the prayer offered is in a general sense academic or rote; study for the sake of studying, prayer that consists of mostly formula. More specifically the Spirit graciously reveals to me that I have ceased to drink from that cool, satisfying Fountain of Life because I have failed to remember just how lovely Jesus is. I have allowed myself to become distracted by this life and the living of it. Dryness comes when I have forgotten what an incredible gift that God has given to us in Christ!

I am reminded of the lyrics to a song,

“I’ll never know how much it cost,
To see my sin upon that cross.
Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You’re my God.
You’re altogether lovely
Altogether worthy,
Altogether wonderful to me.”

It is here when we begin to drink and be filled from that well of water springing up into everlasting life!  When we consider the price paid by the one who did not owe it!  Oh Precious Lamb of God! This causes us to worship, to bow down. This opens our eyes to the One who is altogether Lovely, altogether Worthy, altogether Wonderful! It is when our lives become more about us than Him that we enter into the desert place.

This is why I so enjoy reading the writings of the Puritans, they had an extreme focus on the value and worth of Christ. I know, it might be the “in thing” to read the Puritans, or to be more “reformed” of doctrine, but this is not my point nor is it my stance. I read the Puritans because there is depth there. I must freely admit that much of the writings are so intense that it requires great concentration on the part of the reader to apprehend what the author is saying. And this too I enjoy, as I grow so weary of the 150 page book-of-the-week writings that fill the shelves today where authors are publishing a new one every couple weeks. Always managing to lift up man, or make man the focus- such fluff.  Give me meat!  Give me something the author labored over, something borne from a life examined and proven.  Give me writings that force me to grow and expand my abilities, something that challenges me to think. I hunger for writings that magnify and exalt Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.

Here is a quote from a book fittingly enough titled, “The Fountain of Life” by John Flavel*. Read it and ask yourself- Do I take the time to magnify Christ like this? Does He hold this place of excellence in my mind and heart?

What shall I say of Christ? The excelling glory of that object dazzles all apprehension, swallows up all expression. When we have borrowed metaphors from every creature that hath any excellency or lovely property in it, till we have stript that whole creation bare of all its ornaments, and clothed Christ with all that glory; when we have even worn out our tongues, in ascribing praises to him, alas! we have done nothing, when all is done.

When we begin to consider Christ above all, then we begin drinking from that Fountain of Living Water.

Are you in a dry place? Are you thirsty? Does it seem like a long time since you had a cooling refreshing drink of water from that Rock that is Christ?

Begin praising Him, and rejoicing in Him, and let the waters from that Fountain of Life bring to you life and joy everlasting!

 

*The Works of John Flavel Volume 1, The Fountain of Life: A display of Christ in His Essential and Mediatorial Glory, W. Baynes and Son, 1820 pg18

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