An oasis was and still is a welcome sight to desert travelers. It means shade from the unrelenting desert sun, and more importantly, water. Desert travelers know the importance of water to life itself; the human body is two-thirds water. Humans can go almost a month without food but die from lack of water in less than a week. The desert travelers were not certain that the oasis was real until they could tough the rough bark of the date palm trees, feel the shade of their branches, and cup up water with their hands onto their dust covered faces, lips, and tongues.
One of the greatest fears when traveling in the desert would be that the oasis in the distance would turn out to be a mirage. The tired, longing eyes, straining to see in the windblown sands and refracted desert light, longed to see an oasis. When that oasis turned out to be only a mirage, the disappointment could be devasting.
Not many of us travel through or live in physical deserts. But some of us not only travel through spiritual and emotional deserts, we live there. We know what it is like to be dry, wearty, thirsty, and seeking the oasis, the ever elusive oasis, that time after time turns out to be a mirage.
I have felt like those desert travelers and asked... where is there water for my thirst and why do all of the oasises turn out to be merely mirages?
Maybe you've asked a similar question in your life. Perhaps you are asking this question now. Why haven't hasn't a career, a nice house, a good car, lots of friends, success, and money made my soul full? Those all seem like such good things, such necessary things. But they are not THE OASIS that for humans. There is only one oasis, one water source to quench the spiritual desert, to provide shade and refreshment.
I like this quote that says, "He watches over you-- he is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day." And another of my favorites is, "Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Isn't that one of our greatest fears, that if we come to a God that makes this promise, that we will still be left thirsty and hungry? Aren't we afraid that if we do seek him and look for him and want our thirst to be quenched, that instead of finding an oasis, that god will turn out to be yet another mirage.
You may have another question. God is so far away, how can he really see and care about what is going on down here? This reminds me of a song by Jewel entitled, What If God Was One of Us? Who has not asked for a living, real God that experiences the same stuff down here that we do? Consider Jesus who was not the far-off looking oasis but a "one of us" down here type real oasis. God, in the form of Jesus, came down to earth and people could tell that he was the real deal. They touched him, watched him, and received water from him. There are four books in the Bible that tell of how Jesus lived on earth. The book of John is great to read for analogies and images of Jesus. Mark is brief but you catch the sense of awe and wonder and amazement of the miracles that Jesus did. Matthew does a great job of relating Old Testament Jewish terminology to the New Testament Jesus.
But these three gospels don't impact me as much as when I read Luke, written by a physician. I see Jesus clearly, that he touched and lived among us common people. I see details you just don't find in the other gospels. Jesus is not a mirage -- take an up close look at him in Luke. click here to go to Luke on line In Hebrews, this is written about Jesus, "You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom, and storm... But you have come to Mount Zion... to Jesus." Jesus came to earth so that we could see God up close, so that we could touch him, and so that we could know that he is real.
One person whom Jesus deeply impacted personally was the woman at the well. She came in the hear of the day to the town to get water. A woman who didn't want to be seen would come in the heat of the day to draw water. Jesus told the woman, "I am the living water." Not I was or I will be but I am, the living water. Recently I heard Jill Briscoe expound on this verse and she said, "I have always been, I am now, and I always will be." Jesus also said to the woman, "Whosover drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." The woman saith unto him, "Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come here to draw." John 7:37 And Jesus was not a mirage but an oasis of water in this woman's life.
When life's trials have come and gone (well actually many have stayed in my life!), there is a hidden supply of water that is not visible to others. God says in Isaiah 41:17-18 says, "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 valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water."
How can this be? How can there be an oasis be in the desert? And how can date palms survive in the middle of nowhere with no apparent source of water? For each date palm tree requires 120 inches of rainfall each year. Yet the desert averages a lot less water. Water is supplied to an oasis through underground streams of water. Hidden, silent water, can travel for hundreds of miles, emerging to create an oasis in the desert.
In our own spiritual lives, there won't always be visible streams of water and abundant rainfall. But there will be oasises fed by invisible streams of water. As God says in Isaiah, "In a sun-scorched land you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11
Maybe at this time in your life, you cannot imagine being like a well-watered garden, but it is possible. Hannah Whitall Smith wrote, "I do not mean that there will be no more outward trouble, or care, or suffering; but these very places will become green pastures and still waters inwardly to the soul." When, not "if", but "when", life seems more like a desert than a jungle, there is a hidden source of water to sustain you and to sustain me, through the journey. And that source is God Himself! Get connected and stay connected to the source, the supply of the never ending water. E-mail at any time.
As I was writing this page, I remembered a gift that a friend had given to me more than ten years ago. It is one of my more memorable gifts, for he knew that I considered my life before Christ to be a desert time. The gift is a small covered bottle with desert gatherings and a picture of a desert on it. It reminds me of my life before Christ. It whispers to me, and whispers to me...
Remember that you were once wondering in the desert with no water......................
Remember that you were once wandering in the desert with no water.......
Remember that you were once wandering in the desert with no water.
And tell others about the water................
Remind others about the water.
Jesus is the oasis in the desert of life.
Come to the waters.
When, not "if", but "when", life seems more like a desert than a jungle,
there is a hidden source of water to sustain you and to sustain me, through the journey.
And that source is God Himself!