On a study trip to Israel, I learned many things! And even after a decade, there are some lessons etched upon my soul! Here’s what I learned about being stuck in spiritually dry places from the hot dry holy land!
Have you ever been on a four-bottle walk? No?
Well, it’s quite an experience!
I studied in Israel one hot summer and our teacher took us on many “wee little walks” from the northernmost part of Israel to deep into the southern Negev.
There was nothing “wee” about them. And certainly nothing “little” either!
Our group of eager students would know just how torturous and treacherous a walk would be by the number of large water bottles we were required to carry with us and finish before returning to our bus.
You might ask what a four-bottle walk has to do with being spiritually stuck in a dry place? Well, more than you think!
Our walks were so interesting and educational as we trekked in and around many places I had read about in my bible. Walking on holy ground, so to speak! But they were also unbearably hot and hard and not for the faint of heart! In fact, I would often, after a very hot long totally fascinating, and exhausting day, get into the shower fully dressed just so I could peel off my clothes and wash them all in one step!
It did not take me long to figure out just what kind of “wee little walk” was ahead of us by the number of water bottles we were to carry!
My sister-in-law, Susan, and I also got wise about unusual ways to keep cool.
Our hotel rooms usually had small refrigerators in them and we would freeze wet washcloths and extra water bottles for the day ahead. That meant that we could put the frozen washcloths around our necks or on our heads under our hats to keep us cool for at least a little bit of a walk. We also would put the frozen water bottles down the front of our bra to keep our core cool. Yes, necessity IS the mother of invention!
Despite the oppressive heat, it was a life-changing trip. We were actually learning the most incredible truths as we went to many historical places of the bible, even if we were wearing washcloths on our heads and carrying frozen water bottles in inconspicuous places!
Walking through the holy land’s dry and rocky places in the heat of the summer can teach us a lot about being stuck in a dry spiritual place and how to persevere well through those times and come out victorious!
DRINK LOTS OF WATER
It became very evident that water was and still is a very important commodity in Israel, especially in the summer! Taking even a “wee little walk” without water was life-threatening!
This is a good equation to know in a spiritual sense too.
In times we are stuck in spiritually dry places, we need to have a constant supply of Living Water. We need to be connected to the Giver of Life and be bathed by His Living Water.
In other words, we need to stay connected to God and His word. It is the time to press in hard to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to supply us with understanding and comfort and the presence of God.
Staying connected to God and His word is life for our dry souls!
LISTEN TO THE TEACHER
When we were traveling narrow mountain roads and standing on the edges of high precipices to see expansive views of places like the Sea of Galilee or the Valley of Megiddo it was very important to listen and follow our teacher. Getting off the path could be deadly!
One time when we were up in the Golan Heights our teacher warned us not to get off the path because there were still active minefields all around us. Such a beautiful place, but again, deadly!!!! We all stayed very close to our teacher on that particular outing!
When we are facing dry times in our lives we need to double our efforts to listen to Jesus! Follow Him and stay close to His word. It’s in these dry times that we are not only tested but tempted.
Staying off the path that God has laid out for us in His word can be deadly! It is vital to stay close to Jesus and not stray away.
THINGS ARE EASIER IN NUMBERS
The support of our Israel study group helped all of us at one time or another.
I remember one time in particular. We were climbing a very steep path and some strong, young men in the group made a human chain the rest of us used as a railing to keep us from slipping as we climbed up to the next level of terrain and the path before us.
In hard times we need to count on others. Life is easier when we have others to support us and pray for us and walk through those dry, desert times with us.
We should all be part of a church family and a small group. We were not made to walk alone in this life.
In those dry times, your Christian friends and family, and church are there to support you and help you get safely through them!
KEEP YOUR HEAD UP
Many of our “wee little walks” in Israel took us over very tough terrain.
Even though we were careful where we walked we kept our heads up and took in all the wonders Israel offered!
If we just looked at our feet as we walked through craggy dry places we would have missed waterfalls spilling from out of the mountains above and lush green ribbons of ground where a small brook threaded along the dry rocky landscape.
We would not have noticed local deer and other wildlife and layers of flint that looked like someone took a big pencil and drew a line across the cliffs. We even saw flowers and plants living in the harshest of conditions and were awed by their contrasting beauty!
We took the time to look around and see God in His creation!
In spiritually dry, craggy times we need to keep our heads up. We need to be watching for God showing Himself to us. We need to look for the miracles He weaves in our lives even in our dry times!
KNOW THAT VICTORY LIES AHEAD
Even though many of our treks in Israel were hard and hot and uncomfortable they ALWAYS ended in the most profound, life-changing ways. I learned so much and my heart was deeply impacted and changed!
I grew in big ways spiritually! Because I spent time in the dry places of Israel I can share this with you today.
Spiritually dry places lead to victory! When we go through them we are almost always elevated to higher understanding, growth in our maturity, and a more intimate relationship with the Lord IF we persevere and cling to Jesus as we walk the paths of dry places.
Our Christian life was never guaranteed to be an easy one. In fact, Jesus tells us just the opposite. But, He also tells us that He will be with us and never leave us.
It’s important to remember that we will take spiritual “wee little walks” in dry places in our time on this earth. Because it’s a four-bottle life!
This is a scripture that might help you this week…
THOSE WHO KNOW YOUR NAME TRUST IN YOU, FOR YOU, LORD, HAVE NEVER FORSAKEN THOSE WHO SEEK YOU. Psalm 9:10