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. 

Touching Greatness

She began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. — Luke 7:38 NIV

A booklover to the core, I get a thrill when I’m passing through a town and see a library or a bookstore. So when I spied a quaint-looking bookstore as my husband and I strolled through the charming town of Northeast Harbor while on our vacation in Maine, I made a beeline for the door. 

This was no ordinary bookstore. Its shelves were lined with used, rare, and out-of-print old books. Browsing the titles, inhaling the mustiness, this former literature teacher was in heaven. 

When I pulled a gray, hardbound book from a shelf in the back of the store, I took an awed breath. The Song of Hiawatha, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem, had no copyright page, but its yellowed, thick pages told me it was old. And it was only $10. 

Holding the classic in my hands brought to mind other writers who have made the pages of literary history. I turned to the proprietor. 

“Do you have anything by Robert Frost?” 

I should have known I was in trouble when he pulled a stepstool to a wall of glassed-in bookshelves behind me and inserted a key. 

“This one,” he said, handing me a copy of West Running Brook, “is a second edition and is probably a little more than you want to spend. It’s autographed.”

I reverently opened the cover and ran my fingers over the signature of my favorite poet. I felt like Benjamin Gates did in National Treasure when he stood in the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Okay, it was just a movie, but I identified with the emotion portrayed in that scene.

“I’m touching greatness,” I breathed. 

I looked at the price: $1,250! 

But I could touch it for free. 

I bought Frost’s Versed in Country Things for only seventy-five dollars. 

“Consider it my birthday and Christmas presents,” I told my husband.

The experience reminded me of the time a woman wept at Jesus’ feet and kissed them. She knew she was touching greatness. So did Mary, Jesus’ mother, every time she held her baby, kissed a boo-boo on the toddler’s knee, wiped her tears from His dead face after He was taken down from the cross. And Mary Magdalene, who was so overjoyed seeing Him alive that first Easter morning she clung to Him. 

I often wish I could have lived in first century Bethany and, like Mary, sit at His feet. 

Then God reminds me that I touch greatness every day: when I run my fingers through my husband’s hair, when I hold a grandchild close, when I clasp my best friend’s hand as we say grace before a girls’ day out lunch, when I hug a friend at church, when I wrap my arms around a distraught, hurting soul and pray with her, sometimes right in the aisle of a grocery store.

Because every person, whether rich and famous or poor and obscure, is great in the eyes of God. 

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 Luke 7:36–50.

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