It was midsummer 2002 and day four of our week of survival in the bush. The sun burnt down on the African jungle, licking up the last drops left in surrounding waterholes.
Our water bottles were practically empty as well, since we were rationed to just 1 litre of water each, as well as 3 potatoes, 3 eggs, a tin of baked beans, and a pack of instant soup between the three of us for the week.
I learned that thirst overpowers all other senses. When your lips are cracked and your swollen tongue sticks to your palate, you can think of nothing else than water and what you would give for a glass of cold water!
Lying in the shade of our shelter during the heat of the day, we sang songs to help pass the time and keep our morale high.
Have you ever noticed how many worship songs refer to water?
“As a deer pants for water”
“Where your streams of abundance flow”
“I’ve got joy like a fountain” … and many more.
Since it was the 16th of December, a memorable day in South African history when our forefathers made a covenant with God, we made our own vow that we would remember that day for as long as we lived if God came through for us with rain from heaven. Then, we prayed for rain.
Late afternoon that day, around 4 pm, the clouds gathered together; and for the first time in weeks, bucket-loads of water fell from the sky!
I knew that God was real then… and I did not have any reason ever since to doubt that He will always provide.
That night, I fell asleep curled up in the dirt with my t-shirt pulled over my legs and I felt full. Our answer to prayer resulted in soaked firewood. So, we had water, but no fire. We simply had to trust that the One who provided rain from above would also warm and protect us through the night.
I reflected on this experience again, like I always do this time of the year, as a sort of anniversary of God’s provision that day. As I did, I couldn’t help but wonder if I sometimes lose my way to the well, because I’m not thirsty enough.
Who wants to drink 8 glasses of water a day when you have unlimited options of coffee, tea, and a multitude of flavored and fizzy drinks?
I know perfectly well that when desperately thirsty, no one needs to convince you that what you really want and need is water. When we are truly thirsty for God, the answer is also easy.
We have an open invitation to drink the living water, and yet it is so easy to settle for being semi-satisfied with all the flavors and twists this world has to offer.
Have you ever been thirsty enough to pray a desperate prayer?
“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” John 4:10
Image Credit: Ankia from Leo Vantage Safaris