“I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessings on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.” – Isaiah 44:3-4
On day two of a five-day backpacking trip in the Superstition Wilderness outside Phoenix, my friend and I missed our spring. By the time we realized our mistake, we were a six-hour hike from the next water source with only a liter and half left between us and the sun was setting.
The next morning we tried to ignore the rising temperature as we climbed through the beautiful but barren mountains. In the heat of the day, we entered a box canyon, sheer walls on either side with a trail that scrambled over boulders and tightroped along razor edges. Our tongues clung to the roofs of our mouths and the last few swallows of water sloshed at the bottom of our bottles.
Then, halfway through the canyon, we caught a glimpse of the spot ahead where the trail opened up again and the sweetest sight we could imagine: a row of tall green trees!
In Isaiah, God says that the gift of the Spirit transforms the people to be like trees in the desert. Our communities, our lives call out to parched pilgrims. “Follow us to water, life, refreshment! We know a place where you can be refilled, and there’s water enough to take with you as you journey on into the wilderness, as you make your way over the thirsty land.”
May all people have clean, flowing water and the parched places in our souls be refreshed in your Spirit.
Vince Amlin is Associate Minister at the United Church of Gainesville, Gainesville, Florida.