The poor and homeless are desperate for water, their tongues parched and no water to be found. But I’m there to be found, I’m there for them, and I will not leave them thirsty. I’ll open up rivers for them on the barren hills, spout fountains in the valleys. I’ll turn the baked-clay badlands into a cool pond, the waterless waste into splashing creeks. – Isaiah 41:17-18 (MSG, adapted)
The Great Salt Lake was once a paradise for boaters, birdwatchers, and beachgoers. But the massive body of water, home to brine shrimp and flies that attract 10 million migratory birds a year, is drying up.
The Antelope Island marina where pleasure boats once docked is a pathetic collection of warped walkways over dried dirt. Visitors intent on floating in the lake’s famously salty waters are warned they will have to walk up to a mile from shore. Most concerning is the poisonous arsenic exposed by the dry lakebed and carried by wind into the lungs of the region’s residents.
What does this unfolding disaster have to do with Advent, a season of waiting and watching for God to fulfill our longings for union and wholeness?
The Word becomes flesh not simply to gratify our spiritual desires but also to satisfy and transform our desperate physical, societal, economic, and environmental needs.
While we look up and down and all around for any sign of hope, when our situations become so dire that we stop believing in deliverance and restoration, God comes to us again—longing to be found, wanting to reveal love’s power, waiting to make miracles out of our mighty messes.
Come to us again, O God, and quench our thirst—for water, for hope, for justice and peace, for you.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.