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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, March 14, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
the living water, thirsty one;
stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

“I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” (v. 2) by Horatius Bonar
Hymn 182, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Wilderness wandering. That’s how I’ve always thought of Lent. A period in the desert before receiving the fresh, cool water of Easter. But wandering in the desert means you get tired and weary and so, so thirsty. Jesus himself uttered those words as he neared the end of his desert journey: “I thirst.”

Psalm 63 describes our wandering as thirsting for God. Our whole being longs for God “in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Walter Brueggemann reiterates this idea by saying, “The theme of wilderness is an appropriate one for Lent, for Lent is about being in thin places without resources and being driven back to the elemental reality of God, the reliability of God, and our capacity to trust God in the thin places where there are no other resources. . . . The Bible does not everywhere assume that God is present but knows about the dry places where God’s absence is overwhelming.”

Our dry places are not always immediately evident to us. Sometimes we avoid visiting those dry places and wandering through our deserts by treating Lent like a task to check off our lists: don’t eat chocolate for forty days, don’t watch TV, don’t . . . don’t . . . don’t. But what if we do? What if we do the hard work of desert-wandering that lies before us? What if we dig deep and think about the dry places in our lives where God’s absence feels overwhelming? God promises a life-giving stream at the end of our journey, water miraculously gushing from the rock.

God, let us not be afraid of the thin places in our lives this season. Be with us as we enter into our deserts and wander through our personal wildernesses. May we joyfully receive your water at the end of our journeys. Amen.

Written by Lois Snavely, Seminary Intern

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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