Desolation Wilderness is a beautiful but remote region of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Over the years, Valorie and I have enjoyed backpacking there, including several times with our girls when they were younger. One particularly dry and hot summer, water was scarce; our bottles were empty, and we were thirsty.
We came upon a dried-up stream with just a few left-over pools. Fortunately, we had a filtration system that allowed us to use a stagnant pool of brackish and insect infested water to produce precious drops of life-giving water which we happily drank to satisfy our thirst.
When Jesus sat down at a well in Samaria, he’d had a long walk from Judea on his way home to Galilee. Despite being hot and thirsty, he met someone who was actually worse off than he was. Yes, she was able to draw the water from Jacob’s well, but she was in a “desolation wilderness” of her own, socially and spiritually isolated and without hope.
Seeing her great need and breaking just about every rule in the book, Jesus reached out to offer her something far better than she could ever draw from a hole in the ground. He gently and carefully led her through a process that eventually led to her acceptance of living water that she could have within her – an overflowing stream of soul satisfying and eternal life-giving power, not just for her, but for her whole village.
Everywhere we look there are people who are in a “desolation wilderness” – isolated and lonely, lost and without hope. Jesus’ example with the woman at the well is a challenging reminder both of the lostness of humanity as well as our need to step out of our comfort zones and maybe “break the rules” for the great cause of reaching a lost soul. Read John 4 in preparation for our time in God’s Word this Sunday.
To this day I still remember how it felt when we finally got back to civilization and stopped at an A&W stand. After drinking warm filtered water for four days, an ice-cold root beer float was about as close to “living water” as you can get on this earth. How much better eternal life is for those who know Christ! I’m sure the woman at the well would agree!
See you Sunday!
P.S. This Sunday we are celebrating three people who are following the Lord in getting baptized!