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Wells in the Wilderness

by Holly Swafford

“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water from the wells of salvation.”

Isaiah 12:3

God has always been faithful to provide just what His children need when they need it most. When Isaiah penned this passage of Scripture, Israel was in one of the hardest times of its history as captives in a heathen land. All through the Bible, God supplied water to His people. The Israelites found water along their way in the weary wilderness. Jacob dug up the dry wells of Abraham and found fresh water. The sin-wrecked Samaritan woman discovered a well that could live inside her when she met Jesus by the well from which she had expected to receive water.

In my own trials of life, I have found that God has placed wells along my wilderness paths, the depths of which I have yet to discover. In my driest desert, only by my own choice have I walked thirsty. There is no need for us to suffer from spiritual dehydration with God’s water ever at hand.

I think that sometimes God knows we need a desert simply to make us realize how much we need His water. It was David who cried out to God from his wilderness: “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psalm 63:1).

Like David, if it wasn’t for the times when I have gone to God desperate for His comfort and relief, I don’t think I would find His refreshment to be so precious. There was a particular time as a teenager when I struggled with serious depression. I felt completely hopeless and unhappy. But I realized then more than ever how much I needed God. God drew me near to Him and proved to me that He was the dearest Friend. In the place of prayer one night, God gave me an indescribable joy that I could still feel the next morning. I can’t say that depression has never tried to creep back in since then, but God opened to me a well of joy that night that no power of darkness could take away.

We may not understand why God allows us to walk through the wilderness, but we will always find that He is there with us.

At times it may be simply to show us that He still sees us in the most difficult circumstances. I recently came across this golden thought: “We never know where God hides His pools. We see a rock, and we cannot guess it is the home of the spring. We see a flinty place, and we cannot tell it is the hiding place of a fountain. God leads me into the hard places, and then I find I have gone into the dwelling place of eternal springs” (from Streams in the Desert).

God will not always lead us down a smooth, green path lined with sunshine and roses where it is easy to serve and love Him. There will be times in life that we must walk the lonely mountain path full of rocks and heartache that seems to have no end. Yet even there, we can trust that God will walk with us. He never puts on us more than we can bear. In fact, there is nothing we must go through that He has not already gone through Himself.

So no matter where you are, whatever wilderness you may find yourself stumbling through, God has a well of His salvation right there for you.

Don’t listen to doubt. It’s more than a mirage. His wells of peace, love, joy, faith, and grace are limitless.

The trial may not be over, your heart may not be healed, but in the middle of it, you can draw fresh water with joy from the wells of salvation.

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water” (Isaiah 41:17-18).

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