The western United States is in a terrible drought. I live in Southern Arizona and the drought is so severe almost nothing bloomed this spring. In a desert where the cactus blooms bring much beauty and joy, having a dearth of that beauty is very noticeable. This spring only the ocotillo and saguaros bloomed, but I enjoyed those flowers more than I can say.
My heart is sick when I go on walks and see all the plants that are dying or already dead. I want to take a bottomless watering can with me to water all the cactus and other plants. Of course, I don’t have one of those, but I often wish I did.
Now the fires are starting. Hundreds of acres are burning. Mountain forests. Desert landscape. Towns. Homes. It’s heartbreaking to watch and makes me feel helpless as the already depleted water supply sinks lower.
Part of me wants to cry out to God, “Why? Why are You allowing this to happen? Why don’t You answer the prayers for rain?”
Perhaps the answer can be found in the Bible. There are many accounts of drought and famine in the Scripture. God allowed His people to go through these difficult times. Was there a purpose in those droughts? In the famine?
In Genesis 41, Pharaoh has a dream and Joseph, who is in prison at the time, is brought out to interpret that dream Joseph tells Pharaoh there will be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, probably caused by drought. Why does this happen? At the time, it makes no sense, yet looking back we can see God used the drought and famine to free Joseph and raise him to a position of authority. Then God brought Joseph’s family to Egypt and provided a place for them to grow as a people. God’s name was made great by the events then and those that followed. He had a purpose.
We can read about drought and famine during Elijah’s time and during King David’s. Each time God had a purpose that was evident after the fact.
Of more concern than the physical drought is a spiritual one. There are many references to people needing refreshed in their spirit. To them being dry spiritually and needing the water that gives life.
“The poor and needy seek water, but there is none,
Their tongues fail for thirst.
I, the Lord, will hear them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will open rivers in desolate heights,
And fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
And the dry land springs of water.” Is. 41:17-18 (NKJV)
Jeremiah 17: 13 refers to God as the “fountain of living waters.”
We are all familiar with the story of the woman at the well in John chapter four. Jesus asks her for a drink and then tells her about the living water.
“Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” Jn. 4:13
When we face a drought in our lives, a famine, or are consumed with the fires of doubt, we can turn to Jesus. He is the source of the water of life. He can quench our thirst. His word can satisfy our hunger. We must not let drought and famine steal the beauty from our lives. Instead, we must seek the One that satisfies and bloom in the midst of a desert.