The day was so hot, 104 degrees. We were melting the second we stepped outside...or should I say, we were evaporating and hoping the buzzards flying overhead weren't a sign of things to come. The heat was overwhelming, but the next few moments were so special and so worth it. Our team got out of the bus and immediately, we saw a group of these tiny deer eating. “How can a deer live out here?” I thought. We saw fig trees growing and I actually pulled a fig off one of the trees and ate it. I was thinking, “How in the world does this thing grow in such a desolate place?” That’s when we walked around the corner and heard the rushing sound of water! My eyes didn’t have to see the river to know what it was.
I spent about ten minutes in this incredible desert oasis and was in awe of the literal “river in the desert.” I can’t imagine how King David felt to be there. David was hated by Saul and fled for his life. He fled to the desert wilderness of En Gedi, but he went there for a reason. This particular place was chosen because of the water sources around it.
Often when we get lonely, angry, upset, confused, lost or disturbed, we run away from our problems and run to things that give us life. The things we think give us life can be fleeting. We might run to a person or an activity, or worse, we run to a secret sin. No matter what we turn to to fill a void, it doesn't help; we just end up hurting even more. When we look at David’s life, we learn that when we reach out looking for life, there are places that help and places that don’t.
David couldn’t just blindly run out into the desert or live wherever he wanted. He would either die from dehydration or get caught and killed. He had to be strategic. He had to find a place where he could hide and have water: the source of life. Look at what the Book of Psalm has to say about En Gedi:
"As the deer pants [longingly] for the water brooks,
These deer would be dead without the water in the waterfalls. They would roam the desert, desperate for water, until they found a place filled with water. Then they would risk their lives to stay there.
On this scorching day in July, in the middle of the Israeli desert wilderness, we heard the sound of the waterfall, and we all took off running and jumped right in.
God is our spiritual source of life, just as water is our physical source of life. Others might say He is not enough, but let me tell you, He is the source of all life. Be encouraged that the hotter the desert, the more refreshing God becomes. There have been times in my life where I have clung to the scriptures in my Bible; falling asleep praying and worshiping late into the evening. These are precious moments and they’re a reminder to me of how refreshing God can be and has been in my life.
I have been so impacted by the things God shared with me while I was in Israel and I’m really enjoying the opportunity to share it with you. I am going to continue to write about my experience through eleven more devotions in the upcoming months. You can stay connected with me on Facebook and Instagram to read them or to hear about an upcoming trip that you can be a part of.