An Afghan refugee girl enjoys drinking clean water.
This season I plan on spending a few weekends volunteering. The do-gooder part of me welcomes this, while the “comfortable as I am” part is not exactly giving jubilant high-fives. While pondering my double-mindedness, I am reminded of Exodus 17, when the tired and free people following Moses (not exactly a volunteer mission) escaped great discomfort, only to walk into more. “I'm thirsty,” they said in their dry, echoing voices.
The tired do-gooder Moses asks God for assistance and is instructed to go forward in faith. In obedience and weariness, God's “man on the ground” leader leads. God lets him know he will be waiting ahead of him — as Jehovah Nissi (God our banner) and Jehovah Jireh (God our Provider) in one amazing moment of answered prayer.
As I remember the Israelites, I bow my head, thinking I’d probably grumble too — being thirsty is uncomfortable. Like them, my life has had many uncomfortable moments. I was given water, in the form of encouragement, when my life seemed to have too many dry seasons and obstacles. Then I was revived.
I can now laugh at the times when “water” was provided and I didn't even realize I was thirsty. One Lenten season, I gave up coffee and shook all week from the withdrawal. Later, I felt wonderful for being empowered through faith by my praying family, friends, colleagues and an occasional stranger. Water has hope in it.
Working voluntarily may seem to drain us, but in faith we know we will be refreshed. Biblical stories recharge us with reminders. Faith, hope and love, grace, prayer and song, guidance and forgiveness — all are water for quenching our thirst.
Life-sustaining water is there in Jesus Christ. In this Lenten season of renewal, we ask for God’s help directly and through others as we head toward Resurrection Sunday. Let's not faint from dryness. Instead, let us learn more about this Great Provider who has resources to keep us from suffering from thirst.