Seek Water

The ground is dry and weary like the people who live on it.

Israel is exiled for her grievous sins; a people who have turned away from their God and walked into the fire of distress.

A man is listening to a voice that has proclaimed past promises, desolate reality, and hope to come.

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Isaiah 41 begins with a message to the coastlands, a call to come and listen. A challenge to defend themselves and their gods.

The whole chapter is a powerful description of the contrast between the gods of the nations and the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. Line by line, the Lord breaks down the false barricade that the nations use to uphold the images they call “god”.

He also compares the nations with the people Israel: the nations, He says, are a people of fear and distress, but Israel, even though they walk through the fire, are a people upheld and commanded not to fear. And the difference? Israel’s God is the LORD whereas the gods of the peoples are idols–wind and emptiness.

The afflicted and the needy are seeking water (Isaiah 41:17). Can you feel the desert heat scorching them? Can you feel their weariness, the ache of their hearts, their parched tongues?

And there is no water.

But then…. suddenly there are rivers on the bare heights, springs in the middle of valleys. The wilderness is turned to a pool of water, dry sand cracks and gives way to a sea of blue. Trees spring up, for the barren land is now alive. The hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it (Isaiah 41:20).

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Have you ever felt like the afflicted? Like you are dying from thirst, but there is no water to be found?

I have. I remember being fourteen and feeling alone in a wilderness of confusion and emptiness. Nothing that I tried could ease the ache in my heart or calm the fears that constantly nagged me. I also remember a few days ago, when I sat down to study Isaiah 41 and I just felt… dry. I had read the chapter a few times already and it didn’t make sense. College had left me feeling a little numb and tired, and here I sat with my bible on my lap, knowing that I didn’t want to go another minute without seeking water.

My King causes water to flow on the bare and dry ground.

The Holy Spirit is compared to streams of water multiple times in Scripture (in John 7:37-39, and Isaiah 44:3 for example). It is beautiful, how the Lord pours out life into us through His Spirit. What a lifechanging gift!

And these springs of water are not dependent on me. I am thirsty and needy. There is no water in me. So this is not dependent on what I do. Only to seek water–that is what I must do. And when He pours it out, then we will know and “recognize and gain insight” that it is the Lord who has done it (Isaiah 41:20).

The idols of the people are so empty, broken, and worthless. That’s easy to see, isn’t it? But does not this apply to us as well, dear ones? What about the things that we let take precedence over the Lord in our hearts and lives? Things like the approval of others (such an empty god, but such a tempting trap I daily struggle with).

O my soul, turn your eyes to your Lord, and see how the idols now look like what they are: dim, empty, worthless.

So seek water. Don’t seek a mirage in the desert.

Seek water. And the Lord will pour out streams on the thirsty ground.

Seek water. And we will know that the Lord, our Redeemer is God.

What about when it feels like there is no water to be found? Israel felt the same way:

“Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God’? ~Isaiah 40:27

The afflicted were seeking water and they sought it without finding it for a long time. I wrestled with doubt in a spiritual wilderness for years. But oh, thanks be to God, He is faithful and when we seek Him with all our hearts He always, always is found (Jeremiah 29:13).

“Do you not know?… The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary… though youths grow tired and weary… yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up on wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” ~ Isaiah 40:27-31

It may seem as if your way is hidden from the Lord, but it is not. His understanding is inscrutable. So wait for the Lord, dear ones, wait for the Lord, and you will gain new strength. Strength for the waiting, for the seeking, strength to believe in the springs of water that the Lord will pour out.

Seek water and never, ever stop.

You have made us for Yourself and our heart is restless until it rests in You.

St Augustine


  1. Oh, wow. This could be me writing right now. I struggled through the dry land last week and He mercifully granted me springs of water in His presence. Thank you for sharing, Josie!

    Liked by 1 person

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