Spiritual Drought

A few years ago, the Southeastern US experienced a drought.
Rain was not falling, lakes that held public water were drying up, and water was rationed. We were allowed to water our grass only two days a week, and we all drove dirty cars. By mid July, no one had any grass left. It made me thirsty just looking outside. The ground was parched, and large cracks formed in the ground. I have a picture of my son mowing the dirt in our backyard.
Yet driving around town there were a few businesses with lush grass. They were like oases in the desert. Immediately I was angered. How was it that they were allowed to water their grass? Then I noticed the small sign. It read, “Grass irrigated with well water”. Well water? What well water? What well? This was Charlotte, North Carolina we were talking about here. There were no wells in this part of town.
Later that summer a minister from Africa came to speak to our church.
He found our drought amusing. He said that with an American drought there was still water. It was true. I could at any moment still get water in my home. He said that with an African drought there was no water. None. He said that villagers would have to walk hours or days to get to a well for water. He was amused at our “drought.”
So there’s drought, and then there’s drought. And it made me think about another kind of drought. Spiritual drought. It’s the drought that some believers walk into. By “believer” I mean someone who has a relationship with God, who has met Jesus, understands the sacrifice made by Him on their behalf, and yet finds they are wandering apart from that relationship. If this describes you, or if it ever has, you know the pain associated with that feeling.
It’s a feeling of abandonment, of separation.
So many different things can bring on these feelings. You look around and see that everyone else seems to have a great life, job, marriage, whatever. But you? Not you. You pray, beg really, but nothing seems to go your way. Try as you might, it seems that God is ignoring your pleas. So what do you do? You pull away. And why not? If God is going to abandon or ignore you, you’ll just return the favor. It’s not working for you, anyway.
The Bible speaks of a woman who was experiencing a spiritual drought. Jesus met her in the way that only He could. Their meeting was unusual for a few reasons. They met at a well just outside of town, in the heat of the day. She had come to draw water alone for she was not welcome at the regular time when the rest of the women gathered. She was known as a woman of ill repute. My granny would have called her “loose”. She was loose, but she wasn’t stupid. Showing up to the well with all the other women in town would have proven disastrous for her.
So in the heat of the day, she came for water. In the culture of that time, it was not permissible for a man to address a woman in public- not even his own wife, let alone a woman like this. And finally, Jesus was a Jew and the woman was Samaritan. The two people groups were not on friendly terms.
Yet Jesus was not one to let social morays interfere with his plans.
So He met her there at the well, and struck up a conversation with her about water. He told her that she could certainly drink that water from the well, but that she would surely grow thirsty again in time. He told this woman that He could offer her spiritual water from which she would never be thirsty again. Jesus offered her a forever oasis. But there was the issue of her life. There were things she had to make right.
Jesus looked her in the eye, and one by one, listed her offenses to her. Can you imagine standing there; being told all you had done wrong by someone offering spiritual cleansing? What did she do? Well, she freaked out. She ran to the townspeople and began to babble on about Jesus and his offer to her. She told them about how he had offered her cleansing at the well. This woman ran out of her spiritual drought.
It’s the same with us. Jesus is at the well, with a ladle ready to lift it to our lips.
Ready to offer us freedom from spiritual thirst. But there’s the issue of our hearts. In our sadness, disappointment, and feelings of abandonment, we have separated ourselves from Him. Our trust in Him has been taken down a few notches, and we have turned to self-preservation. Because you can really only trust yourself, right?
When the drought in the southeast finally lifted, and the first real rain fell I walked outside in just stood in it. I let it wash over me. It was like the first time I had ever felt it. I’ve been in a spiritual drought before. I believed the lies I told myself about God. That He had forgotten me and that I had to make it under my own might. But when I got to the end of myself, I realized I needed the water Jesus had to offer. That the only way for me to walk out of the drought I was in was to go and drink. I did.
I had to place my life, and whatever happened with it, back in His hands.
It didn’t mean that everything suddenly smelled all rosy. What it did mean is that the outcome and my circumstances were not of my choosing. It meant I handed it all back over to Him, and I trusted Him with the result. It was like the first time I had trusted in Him. Only this time I am wiser. I hope. This time I trust what I know, and not what I might see. What I see might tell me He is not there for me, what I know is that if I were a loose Samaritan woman at a well in the heat of the day, He would still be there.

So what do you think?

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