Camp, Retreat, and Conference Center

Times of Refreshment

Times of Refreshment

The days are longer, the kids are out of school, many of us take vacation and we’d agree with the words Ella Fitzgerald used to sing: “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…”  We spend a lot of time outdoors, enjoying the lush greenery of summer.  Some of us have pools to cool us off on the hot days, or head to a lake or beach.  With the kids out of school, it’s a great time to go exploring the diversity of what our country offers.  The pace is a little slower, and while rain may delay some of our outdoor living, it brings refreshment and nourishes all around us.

Some of us have experienced the desert.  It’s fairly barren, although it has a beauty of its own.  During the day it’s burning hot, and at night it’s cold.   A short time in the desert without water can be a torturous experience.   As a kid I remember scenes where they show someone looking at the mirage of an oasis in the desert and emphatically saying, ‘water, water, WATER!’

David was a man who knew what it was like to spend time in the desert.  He knew how thirsty felt.  While out in the wilderness of Judah, he wrote Psalm 63:1 (God’s Word Translation).  Imagine yourself in his shoes as he wrote these words:

O God, you are my God. At dawn I search for you. My soul thirsts for you. My body longs for you in a dry, parched land where there is no water.”

David was a man who knew that just as we need water, we need God to feel refreshed.  The words that stand out to me are ‘search’, ‘thirsts’, and ‘longs’.  These are words of intensity.  And David used them to express how much he needed God.

Have you ever strongly sensed a desire to draw close to God?  It’s natural, since He created us in His image, and longs to have fellowship with Him.  The words of Augustine are most appropriate: “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” Or, as Pascal put it, “There is a godshaped vacuum in the heart of every man, and only God can fill it.”

Jesus came to show us what God is like.  Near the end of his ministry, he stood in the courtyard of the Temple during the feast of the tabernacles. During Jesus’ time, the feast was  characterized by a daily procession led by a priest carrying a golden pitcher of water drawn from the Pool of Siloam. The water was poured out at the base of the altar at the same time that another priest would pour out a pitcher of wine on the other side of the altar, which pointed to the future outpouring of the Holy Spirit as predicted by Isaiah 12:3 says, “Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.” And Isaiah 44:3 states, “For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants.”

Needing refreshment?  The words of an old song remind us… “He’s as close as the whisper of His name. Jesus, Jesus.”