Water of Life

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. — Psalm 42:12 NIV 

After three trips to Colorado Springs, elevation 6,035 feet above sea level, I learned to drink a lot of water. 

The first time I went in the winter, and the air was dryer than at other times of the year. My eyes burned for the entire writers’ conference. Just walking from my classroom to an editor’s appointment left me gasping for breath. Now when I’m in Colorado Springs, I carry eye drops, pace myself when walking, and drink at least sixty-four ounces of water a day. 

Sixty-four ounces is a lot of water, you say. At that altitude, the air is thin and dry. Thin, meaning less oxygen than I’m used to breathing here at home in Smithport, Pennsylvania, elevation about 1,800 feet. So to get the oxygen I need, I’m taking more breaths. 

The higher altitude also means lower air pressure, which causes moisture to be snatched away from my skin and sucked from my lungs with each breath faster than here at home. And since Colorado Springs ranks thirty-third in the top 101 U.S. cities with the lowest average humidity—at 51.9 percent—I’m not getting a whole lot of moisture in the air I breathe. 

At six thousand feet above sea level, a person exhales and perspires twice as much as at sea level. This can make a difference of a quart or more of water a day. Whether or not I realize it, when I’m in Colorado Springs, I’m breathing more, perspiring more, and losing more body water. And if I don’t drink enough water, I’m going to get dehydrated. 

The funny thing about dehydration is that, unless you know the effects of high altitude on the body, you don’t even realize what’s happening and pass off the headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and nausea as a bug or travel lag. Folks have been known to collapse and be rushed to the hospital, where they were back to normal after receiving much-needed water. 

Just as my body needs water, my soul needs God. 

Jesus illustrated our need for Him when He told the Samaritan woman at the village well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water I give him will never thirst” (John 4:13—14).

When I take time to drink of the water He offers—by spending time talking to Him, listening to Him, and reading and meditating on His Word—my flagging, life-dried spirit is refreshed and revived. When I need rest, He leads me to green pastures and quiet waters. When trouble abounds, He’s right there with His rod and staff. When the way is dark and fearsome, He guides and comforts.

Are you spiritually dehydrated? There’s plenty of water to refresh and revive your soul. All you have to do is come. 

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you . . . in a dry and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1 NIV). Amen. 

MORE TEA: Read and reflect on Psalm 23 and John 4:6–14. 

*http://www.highaltitudelife.com/dehydration.htm

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. 

The Well, the Ram, and Jehovah Jireh

“Hagar in the Wilderness”
Artist: Camille Corot (French, Paris 1796–1875 Paris) | Date: 1835

And then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. – Genesis 21:19 (NIV)

Abraham looked up and . . . saw a ram. – Genesis 22:13

I’ve always felt that Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian maidservant, got a raw deal. Her job was to serve her mistress. This she did. And what did it get her? Not five gold stars for obedience, that’s for sure.

We first meet her in the pages of ancient Scripture when barren Sarah decides the only way she’ll have children is to order her maidservant to sleep with her husband. Any child conceived as a result would then be considered Sarah’s. Legally.

So Hagar sleeps with the big man and conceives. Sarah’s abuse of the pregnant maidservant is so harsh that Hagar runs away. But God meets her in the wilderness, gives her a blessing, and sends her back. Fast forward about 15 years to the weaning celebration of Abraham and Sarah’s miracle baby, Isaac. Sarah spots half-brother Ishmael taunting the little guy and runs to Abraham. “Get rid of that slave woman and her son!” she orders him.

The next morning, Abraham gives Hagar some food and water and sends her off into the wilderness.

When the water was gone, she put Ishmael under a bush and went off a short distance, where she sat sobbing, “I cannot watch him die.”

Once again God meets her in the wilderness. I love how the writer of Genesis describes what happens next: “God heard the boy crying” (Genesis 21:17) and “God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water” (v. 19).

They do not die in the wilderness. Ishmael becomes “a great nation,” as God promised his mother.

Fast forward again, this time to Abraham and Isaac on a mountain on the land of Moriah, where God has sent Abraham on a mission: “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, and . . . sacrifice him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2).

They were almost there when Isaac asks, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

I used to wonder if Abraham’s answer, “God himself will provide the lamb,” was a cop-out. I mean, would he really tell Isaac he was the offering? And I used to think Abraham lied when he told the servants to wait at the bottom of the mountain: “I and the boy will go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5, emphasis mine).

Image by rjmcsorley on Pixabay

Then on the mountain, just after God has stayed his hand from plunging the sacrificial knife into Isaac’s heart, “Abraham looked up and . . . saw a ram,” which he sacrificed in place of Isaac.

Did the ram just happen to be there? Or had it been there all along, making its way up the mountain and getting itself stuck in the thicket just as Abraham looked up?

Did the well that provided life-giving water to Hagar and Ishmael just happen to be there? Some commentators say it was there all along, but Hagar, in her physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual condition, just didn’t see it. Some say it was well hidden.

The answer to these questions is the name that Abraham gives to the mountain: “The-LORD-Will-Provide”(YHWH Yireh or Jehovah Jireh).

The Hebrew word used for “provide” also means “to see.”

God is still Jehovah Jireh today.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of the value of every person on this planet. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son . . .” (John 3:16). Amen.

Read and reflect on Genesis 21:14–21; 22:1–19

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor with your time with God  © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.