I’m here in the Sonoran desert of Arizona visting my dad who’s about to turn 83, his skin etched like this dry patch of earth where he has chosen to live out his later years. Here, there’s plenty of sun but a shortage of water. Even the air thirsts. Humidity hovers around ten percent on average.
Dad tells me how easily one can dehydrate here, how an old man and his grandson ventured off for a hike last spring and died due to lack of water that caused disorientation. They lost their way. They fell. And those made of dust returned to dust before they made it back to their car.
I pictured the old man and young boy, dead in the desert. Could have been my dad. Could have been me. Could have been you. Our bodies need water to live. So do our souls.
How often do we think of our soul’s dehydration that sneaks up on us, rendering us near-death?
Dusty. Dry. Disoriented. Losing our way.
I thought about my backpacking days through wilderness with my husband. How we depended on water and cairns, hand-made rock formations others build to help followers find their way.
I thought about water and rock and how Jesus calls himself both—tells us how we need him in both ways.
Do I even know I need to drink? Or is my sense of spiritual thirst numbed to the point where I’m in danger of dying? Do I wait until I’m parched, weak and desperate before I look for refreshing?
Do I fix my mind on the cairns God has given me in his holy word to guide me along my path through this life, this day?
Jesus calls himself the Living Water and tells us that those who drink from him will never go thirsty, will never die. God tells me that he alone is my rock and my salvation—my ever-present guide whose holy words keep my feet steady, directing me on the right path.
Wouldn’t it be better to walk through each day with Jesus, sipping often of his Living Water, staying soul-hydrated? Wouldn’t it be better to fix our eyes on Jesus instead of all the distractions around us? Then, even when we walk through the valleys, the deserts, the wilderness, we won’t lose our way.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. Psalm 42:1
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. Psalm 18:2
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105