|Delicate Arch, Arches National Park near Moab, Utah|
A fundamental rule for hiking in America’s national parks is to leave no trace. In order to protect and preserve the park’s natural resources, hikers are advised to take only photos and leave behind only footprints. My family violated that rule, however, the year one of my children threw up all over Delicate Arch.
It seems this particular family member had neglected another fundamental rule listed in the park’s hiking guide: Be sure to take and drink water. A gallon per person per day is recommended; don’t skimp, even on short trails.
Dehydration can set in when hiking in the desert, resulting in headaches and nausea before one even is even aware of feeling thirsty. As a family, we’ve learned to carry an adequate supply of water and stop frequently to re-hydrate. Neglecting to drink can have serious consequences.
One of the projects listed in Tsh Oxenreider’s new e-book: One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler is to drink more water. Tsh says, “We know we need to drink lots of water, but most of us still don’t. It’s probably not because we don’t have access to it—it’s either because we forget, or because we’d rather drink something else. Our bodies function fully when we’re hydrated, but we often run at less than full capacity.”
Images of water flow throughout the pages of Scripture. Sometimes water is in short supply, and sometimes God’s people forget to drink what is available to them. There seems to be a whole lot of drinking going on in Scripture; some of it good, some of it bad, and a whole lot of it pointing toward God’s abundant grade.
- When God sent plagues upon the enemies of His people, He made their water undrinkable. (Exodus 7)
- The people of God grumbled about not having water in the wilderness. Responding with mercy rather than judgment, God provided water,in abundance, from the rock. (Numbers 20)
- When fleeing from his enemy Saul, David longed to drink from the well of Bethlehem. (2 Samuel 23:15)
- God told the prophet Jeremiah that His people had committed two evils: They had forsaken Him, the fountain of living waters, and had carved out broken cisterns for themselves which couldn’t hold water.(Jeremiah 2:13)
- While in exile, God’s people had to pay for the water they drank. (Lamentations 5:4)
- Yet God continued to invite his thirsty people to return to Him and drink: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!” (Isaiah 55:1)
- Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37, 38)
During some of my family’s hikes, we came close to running out of water before reaching our destination. It was frightening,feeling thirsty while not knowing how close we were to the nearest water source. Too often I think of God’s blessings as being scarce; mere trickles of water, barely enough to sustain me. I allow myself to wander, thirsty in the wilderness.
But God offers me more than mere trickles. He gave His people water in abundance from the rock, enough to satisfy not only their thirsts, but those of their livestock as well. This He gave to grumbling people through his servant Moses, even though he acted disobediently. Christ offers me living water, enough that rivers of it can overflow from my heart. I can drink this water deeply because Christ drank from the sponge soaked in vinegar (Matthew 27:48) and from the full cup of God’s wrath. (Matthew 26:39)
Christ drank the cup of God’s wrath and offers me, instead, the cup of His blessing.
This year, I’m thinking about taking Tsh up on her suggestion about drinking more water, and I hope to do so mindfully. I have access to water, and in abundance. I never need to worry about going thirsty. Each sip of clean, life-giving water provides an opportunity for me to consider what it means to drink deeply from the river of living water. I want to learn to function more fully in the life Christ offers and begin to cultivate a mindset of abundance, rather than scarcity.
In the year ahead I’m also hoping to be more mindful of those who don’t have access to clean water. According to Compassion International, every day over 4,000 children are dying of water-related diseases such as cholera and typhoid that are easily preventable. I’m hoping that in my year of drinking, I’ll be moved to gratitude for what I have, and to compassion for those who continue to thirst.
My word for 2012? Drink. This year, I’m planning to do some serious drinking. Care to join me?
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
(All Scripture references are taken from the ESV)Linking with Bonnie @ Faith Barista:
And joining the community at One Word 365: