Lenten Reflection: The Wilderness

Scenic desert landscape in the Small Crater (Makhtesh Katan) in Israel's Negev desert

Often in marking Lent, believers have looked at biblical texts about wilderness:  Jesus’ 40 days there, Abram’s travels to a new land, and the 40 years Israel wandered there.  The wilderness reminds us that in Lent, we’re encouraged to come to terms with what’s dry, dangerous or difficult in our lives.

In Exodus 17, we find one such story. The Israelites land at a camping spot, only to find that there is no water. And they begin to grumble. They complain to Moses and God about the mess they’re in.  Lent gives us the opportunity to name the things that are troubling us.  “No water” was a genuine problem.  Perhaps the people’s way of articulating the issue wasn’t great, but it still was a real problem.  Are there things you need to tell God about that are bothering you?  Lent’s a good time to name those.

Because look at how God responded to them.  While Moses wanted to blast them for their bad attitude – which many of them did indeed have – God took a different approach.  God said, “Let’s go get some water.”  And the real problem was solved, at least until the next time they were thirsty.

In John 4, we find another story. Centuries after Moses, and to a woman who was thirsty in a much deeper way, Jesus said, “Let’s go get some water.  The Living Kind.” And that kind of water never runs dry or disappoints.

Lent calls us to name our thirst, name our complaints and be ready to receive the Living Water Jesus provides.  At the end of Lent comes the fountain of God’s eternal response to our deepest human problem.  From Jesus’ death and resurrection flows a stream of life.  Drink deeply.

– Brian Craig, Director of Leadership Development

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