by Emily Conrad

Signs about water in dusty places intrigue me, and I tend to stop and photograph them. An act of hope, perhaps.

A few weeks of events left this introvert drained, dry and dusty. Or maybe it was the shortened, cooler days of autumn that put me in funk.

Whatever the cause, I needed to recharge, but I wasn’t sure my old standbys–time alone, time with my characters, time with my husband–would cut it this time. The need felt deeper.
No matter your personality type, there are experiences that leave you dusty, too, and in need of rest.  Maybe your standbys are different than mine, but they serve the same purpose: refreshment.
But those standbys can only do so much.

Recognizing my weariness but not quite sure how to reverse it this time, I tried taking my dogs for a walk.

Two blocks into it, I noticed an eight-inch cover in the sidewalk labelled “WATER.” All caps. I’d taken a picture of that cover before. It’s next to a gravel parking lot, and once, dust congealed around the letters. Tan dirt, the blue letters peeking up through.

Because I tend to see signs about water in light of my faith, the word hinted to my true problem, and what it would really take to recover.

O God, you are my God! I long for you!
My soul thirsts for you,
my flesh yearns for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1, NET

As those signs I’ve photographed suggest, water is never far off.

In fact, as I walked on, I wondered how I didn’t connect it sooner—water had literally been falling from the sky as I led the dogs down the street, so determined to clear my jumbled mind with a walk that I braved the rain.

Rain. That’s how I thought of it. Not as water.

Sometime ago, my mom gave me a magnet that still clings to my refrigerator. Now, it takes on extra meaning. “Some people walk in the rain. Others just get wet.”

I’d somehow managed to do both without recognizing the water.

Eyes open, I noticed a tree blowing in the breeze, its branches waving leaves. “Money doesn’t grow on trees for everyone,” one of my characters says in one of those stories I’d retreated into.

But water falls from the sky.

What luxury.

Could it be that refreshing spiritual water is just as easy to come by?

Jesus answered her, “If you had known the gift of God and who it is who said to you, ‘Give me some water to drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10, NET

Jesus’s offer still stands. He is the only one who can quench our deepest needs. His Spirit is the living water.

Though His Spirit dwells in me because I believe in Him, I’ve been known to sometimes look to lesser things for a sip of refreshment—a walk, my husband, my stories.

Those old standbys are good in their place. But with two dogs, walks can be stressful. My husband can fail me. Novels end, and characters aren’t real. I can’t trust the health of my soul to such things.

Only God is the true Thirst Quencher.

“The wild animals of the desert honor me,
the jackals and ostriches,
because I put water in the desert
and streams in the wilderness,
to quench the thirst of my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself,
so they might praise me.”
Isaiah 43:20-21, NET

He’s ready to quench our thirst.

The first step? Recognizing Him. David’s Psalm 63 starts off by doing so: Oh God, you are my God! (vs 1, NET)

And Jesus said to the woman at the well that if she knew who she was talking to, she’d have asked for living water.

Humbly acknowledging who He is–the source of living water, the giver of life, our purpose and hope–takes the focus off ourselves and puts it where it belongs. On Jesus.

From there, we can see not only can Jesus give us what we need, but that He is what we need, and He doesn’t hold Himself back from those who seek Him.

So let’s acknowledge Him in our hearts, minds, and souls. Let’s seek Him in Scripture and come to Him in prayer, asking for Him to meet our truest needs. And then, let’s praise Him, confident He will keep his promises.

And my God will supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. May glory be given to God our Father forever and ever. Amen. Philippians 4:19-20 NET

If signs about water dot physical deserts, how much more can we count on God to meet us with water–with everything we need for abundant life–even in dry and dusty emotional or spiritual places.

He won’t leave His children thirsty.

If signs about water dot physical deserts, how much more can we count on God to meet us with water–with everything we need for #abundantlife–even in dry and dusty emotional or spiritual places. via @emilyrconrad #livingwater #encouragement

Photos in this post are my own.

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