Short daily devotionals for the socially distanced. These are thoughts from my daily time in the word. I use a bible reading plan that will have me in a different section of Scripture every day.
I hope they serve to give you courage and hope. You can subscribe to receive them as a daily email at the bottom of the page.
Monday, April 6th
Reading: Genesis 26-28
17 So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. 18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them.
— Ge 26:17–18 (ESV)
I have never really been an outdoor survival sort of guy. I celebrate the world’s advances in technology and my undeniably privileged station in life of living in a comfortable home by deliberately not engaging in the pretense that I don’t have a home. I believe that some refer to this pretense as camping. I occasionally watch Bear Grylls and that survival stuff looks difficult, and all rather messy, so I give it a swerve. I am a domesticated suburban softie, and I am at peace with it. As a result of all of that, I have never dug a well. I press a button on my fridge, and filtered water comes out. It even has a little blue light to illuminate the inches long path to my glass so that I don’t spill. I hardly ever spill, but no one calls to make a reality show about that.
The story of the covenant people of God in Genesis is a story of God’s faithfulness to a people who are fighting to survive. They are exiles, sojourners, almost everywhere they go, and they face the steepest odds in every land – not to mention the odds they lengthen through their own sin – and yet they cling to a promise that God will sustain them, bless them, increase them, and get them home. That is the story arc of all of the people of God, but we forgot the whole exiles and sojourners part of it. We thought we made it home when we were supposed to be wandering. This season is reminding us of our alien status in the world, and of our need to find shelter, and life giving sustenance in a dry and barren landscape.
In Genesis 26, Isaac repeats the sin of his father and is set to wandering in a strange land. He has to go about the painstaking, grueling, and deeply frustrating, life-saving endeavor of digging wells to get fresh water for his people and his animals. It is brutal work, in the Middle Eastern sun, especially as these were wells that had been filled in with sand. It takes ages, you have to be patient, and you have to be precise. Your life depends on it.
What if we used this season of the uncertainty and strangeness of COVID-19 and its impact on our lives to dig some wells back to the source of living water that we so desperately miss and need? Let’s let the Spirit remind us in this season that we are not at home, and let’s allow the ache in our souls, the thirst for meaning that has dried out our mouths, to drive us to dig some wells.
It is slow work. It is deliberate work. It is life saving work.
Will you emerge from this season bloated and malnourished from constant consumption of the soda stream of garbage that is being served up? Or will you use this to drink from the living water? You are going to need some wells. Get in the Word. Get back in prayer. Get back to your Lord. Dig.
13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
— Jn 4:13–14 (ESV).
Courage, dear friends.