So, these orange clementines came home from the store with me last week. But our family has been so in and out of the house that the little treats that usually disappear from the fruit bowl pretty quickly were still there after a few days. But even in just those few days, they looked like they had shrunk significantly. It kind of surprised me. But then again, it’s been hot as all get out, and it’s pretty easy for folks to get dehydrated in these conditions…so I shouldn’t be surprised that it impacted these little fruits as well.
Hydration is pretty important…for fruits and for us. I mean we both consist of a high percentage of water. Keeping hydrated is pretty important (unless you like raisins, then bring on the dehydration 🙂 ). But seriously, in order for our bodies to function, we need water to stay hydrated. I learned this pretty early on as a mom, but one incident really threw us for a loop.
Tanner was in elementary school. It was the first day of school, not just for my children, but for me, because I teach school. I was so looking forward to just hearing how everyone’s day was, etc. and settling in at home after our first day. With six children, those first few days are all about prep of materials and signing papers (times 6), getting class materials, favorite shirts, backpacks, and all the details, so there was a detail or two that needed to get done. Well, Tanner announced, “MOM! I’ve got football practice. They told us it starts today!! Well, I hadn’t gotten a note or call or anything, but he was adamant so I brought him up to school. But here’s the thing. We rushed out the door. And I always tried to have a treat that first day of school, and he had had a huge brownie. No water. So, he definitely wasn’t physically prepared to be in the hot sun.
So, we rushed to his first practice, and even though they had water there, he and I were so focused on the goal of getting him there, and I let the detail of making sure he had something to drink slide. Well, about 30 minutes into the practice, Tanner fainted. One of the coaches was an EMT, so that was a blessing, and Tanner was okay. I shudder now, because, well, we now know that Tanner has a heart condition…and many that have this condition (CPVT) have cardiac arrest during exercise on the basketball court or football field, and never make it off the field or the court. We wouldn’t know that Tanner had this condition until years later. This incident was one of our first signs…..and I look back with more gratitude than I can even say that we were spared a tragedy. (This was not one of my shining mom moments, and with most kids, they would’ve been more resilient, but with Tanner, well, there were unseen dynamics going on. We both learned…no matter how much you’re rushing, drinking water before stepping foot on that field was a must….)
It’s pretty well known that the heart has to work a lot harder if you’re dehydrated. But I’m thinking this doesn’t just apply in the physical world. Am thinking it’s a spiritual truth as well.
Life can have a way of depleting us emotionally or spiritually sometimes. It’s kind of like being spiritually dehydrated, so to speak. Whether it’s relational issues, financial pressures, health concerns, job demands etc., etc., etc, (or even all of the above), well, we all go through times when life can drain us of hope. It just can.
There’s a story in John 4 that tells of Jesus’ conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well. Jesus tells her “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14) . And I get it because we all get thirsty physically, and we all get thirsty spiritually. Water that we drink needs to be replenished. But Living Water…Living Water is like a well within..that fuels and fills and makes it so that our hearts don’t have to work as hard to function well. We all know what it feels like to try to “take heart” and not be discouraged when we really are discouraged. Well, the Word of God is like this living water that just infuses hope…and helps hearts take heart.
Years ago, I wrote a song called “In a Dry and Weary Land.” I still remember the words. It goes, ‘,,,In a dry and weary land you comfort me
reaching out your hand and touching mine
In deserted dry sands you reach for me
and let me know Your grander design
It’s no mirage that You are here
It’s no mirage that You are drawing me nearer
You’re the Oasis that carries me through
That carries me to You…in .a dry and weary land.”
I think so many people are looking around these days and feeling like they are in ‘a dry and weary land’. Sometimes where we look for satiating of thirst is like a mirage..offers hope for a short time, then disappears in a heartbeat. It’s tough to have hope when so many folks are making ridiculous decisions and people are suffering right before our very eyes. It’s tough to keep holding on to hope when the needs of our world are screaming so loud, and people far and near are hurting. It’s like we’re all a bit dehydrated spiritually, and need an infusion of hope big time.
Thankfully, I believe there is Hope. I do. But even though I truly believe we have power to encourage others and offer glimmers of hope, I think what we offer is more like a drink of water from a well. But what God offers, and truly offers freely, is a well springing up, an infusion that is internal and eternal. It lasts. It’s a hope that breathes life into the core of our being and helps our hearts to take heart. It’s a hope that goes beyond what we see and seek, and understands and moves toward a peace that passes any comprehension.
If you’re feeling dehydrated, well, there’s a well that never runs dry. There are so many invitations through scripture to come. “Come to the waters, you who are thirsty…” (Isaiah 55:1) Life can wear us out and make us thirsty, thirsty for more than water. And thirsty can beget thirsty. I love the verse that says, “As a deer pants for the waters, so my soul longs after Thee…” It goes on to say, “my tears have been my food day and night…and talks about the loss of hope.When we’re down and out, those tears might flow, …which is kind of a cool visual of that process of ‘dehydration’ physically, and ‘dehydration’ spiritually. Tears can be a release, but can also be a signal of losing hope. Hope is like that water that hydrates the heart and mind. Psalm 42 ends with an acknowledgement of hoping in God…and filling up with praise for Him.
Okay, so am gonna reel myself in and get my wandering mind back to those little citrus fruits, lol. Amazing are the tangents this mind can go on, lol. But yes, back to these mini-oranges. You know what was cool about them? That even though they had been a little dehydrated on the outside, the inside was as juicy as all get out. The skin had gotten thin, but they were so tasty and juicy and didn’t seem at all impacted by the ‘thinner skin’ that was a result of being more dehydrated. I’m thinking that’s exactly the way God wants our hearts to be. That yes, things are going to impact us. Life can get hard and there’s wear and tear and hurt. But there can be a reservoir of hope that isn’t impacted by the outward stuff.
One of my all time favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. It says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Yep. That clementine was wasting away a bit outwardly. But the inside wasn’t impacted. So here’s to being like clementines. But bigger and wider and deeper than that. Here’s to drinking from the well that doesn’t run dry that infuses HOPE. Here’s to knowing that the “things unseen” are where we can find our hope, and acknowledging that often the things that are seen and felt are big time de-hydrate-ers. Can’t put our hope there. Nope. That well run can run dry pretty quickly. People disappoint. Systems are broken. Consequences real the guilty and the innocent in, etc., etc., etc. But God infuses hope in the heart and impacts the way we look at things.
So, if you’re feeling a bit dehydrated like me and my little clementine, well, here’s hopes that we’ll run to the well that doesn’t run dry. Life is full of challenges, and we’ve gotta be on our game. Tough to be on our game when we’re dehydrated….physically and spiritually. So on this hot and humid mid summer day in July, here’s to drinking water — good old H20, and Living Water. Here’s to hope that goes deeper than the skin, to hope that sees beyond what’s seen, to hope that empowers us to have joy in the midst of circumstances that might be anything but ideal.
One more thing. People have wondered why I call the blog, “Soletusknow”. It’s not one weird word. It’s from one of my favorite verses that says, “So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn. And He will come, He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain, watering the earth.” I love that. We seek, He comes. Not like a slow drizzle, but like a spring rain that drenches, a down pour that thoroughly soaks, or hydrates if you will. And not just in Spring, but whenever. And not maybe, but as certain as the dawn. Yeah, I’m thinking it’s a good, good verse, and a truth to hold on to. May His Presence infuse hope that hydrates and renews your heart and soul today.
p.s. Drink water ~ The H2O kind, and the not so tangible, but so very present and real kind.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.