Desert People

0701-thunder_riverObserve the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. – Deuteronomy 8:6-9

I really like this verse.  The water imagery is rich and enticing.  There are also some intriguing parts for the hard rock geologist in me:).  The preceding chapters of Deuteronomy were a series of what seemed like rather harsh treatment for the people who were not following God, Israelites and non-Israelites included.  The God of the previous couple of chapters came across more like the “Mad Max” God of earlier in the old testament than the living water God we find in Jesus.  This passage provides a welcome breather and preview of things to come…deep gushing springs of living water raining down on the hapless, and sometimes confused, disciples.

For people of the desert like the Israelites this reference to brooks, streams, and gushing springs must have been particularly meaningful.  In the desert water is life.  Interestingly, the items listed next, wheat, barley, etc. would not be possible without the water.  From a spiritual perspective this is true of the living water we receive from God through his Son Jesus.   Without God at the center the most elaborate riches on earth lose their meaning and value.  God must come first so that other blessings can follow.

I think God desires for us to view the living water offered by Jesus like the “desert people” in this passage viewed the water.  We are in a sense spiritual “desert people” wandering from day to day searching for gushing springs of spiritual living water to quench our thirsty souls.  Why do we sometimes lack this hunger and thirst for something our soul needs so badly?  Perhaps we are settling for bottled water when we could have gushing spring water provided by God.  We must be dependent on God.  The only way to become dependent on God is to depend on God. It is only when we step out of our comfort zones into scary, sometimes desert-like, places that we realize the inadequacy of bottle water to truly quench our deep spiritual thirst.

O.K. Geo-geek warning….I have to reflect a bit on the references to rocks. I can’t resist. Rocks are thought of by most non geo-geeks as hard things which seem to be of little value — if they think of them at all.  Some rocks are actually very valuable for the metals, such as iron and copper, they contain.  I worked as an exploration geologist for several years after I got my bachelor of science degree in geology long ago. This passage describes an exploration geologist’s dream….rocks made of iron and copper you can dig out of the hills.  There is a saying among exploration geologists, “gold is where you find it”.  Meaning all the fancy ideas and models of where to find gold are trumped by tripping over a real live nugget of gold.  Perhaps Christians could borrow this saying and modify it a bit….”God is where you find Him”.  The tricky thing about finding God is that you have to be looking for Him.

Prayer: God help us to hunger and thirst for You like desert people thirst for water.

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