It was mile five on an unusually warm day. The sun was pouring down and as the sweat rolled our mouths were getting dry. My faithful four footed running companion and I were on a long run and we found ourselves surprised at this turn in the weather. It was unusually warm for February. It was dry, so dry. Where there were normally puddles and natural springs along the trail to quench his thirst, this day there was dust. He ran hard and fast, nose to the ground searching for water, longing for something to quench what must have been unrelenting thirst. Sadly, nothing could be found. We carried on, ever closer to home with no water in sight, but still looking and longing, tongue hanging out, nose sniffing and searching for one little drink. As we finished we found a puddle and he drank deep and long. This simple creature, my dog that runs faithfully by my side was longing for something to satisfy his deep need. Water was all that would sustain him and he was driven, even while still tethered to me, to look and search. I watch him and wonder if I do the same. Do I search for The Water? Do I run hard with my nose to the ground, looking, searching longing? When Jesus meets the woman at the well in the gospel of John, he invites her to drink from the living water, the water that becomes a spring everlasting. And I wonder at myself if I’m driven to find this well, this everlasting and unceasing spring.
I have been a pilgrim, and I did not know it. I have been journeying, searching for that water. I’ve been living in a desert, literally and figuratively for the last five years. On the journey I’ve learned that there is an inner well. Where sagebrush and tumbleweeds mark the landscape and mingle with scraggy juniper, on a desolate landscape I have encountered a spring. It seems barren and desolate but the seasons shift and always, if you search diligently, there is water. And even on the driest of days, though hidden, the well remains.
The refreshing spring is a secret source of joy and contentment, delight even. It’s not found in circumstances, it’s not found in the condition of my life or of my health. It’s not dependent on my pocketbook or the contents of my refrigerator. It’s an inner reserve, a hidden spring. Jesus states it clearly to the woman at the well.
I think the apostle Paul was on to something when he declared in Philippians that he had learned to be content whatever the circumstances. His secret was linked to the condition of his inner well, that spring within him. Paul knew it could only be found in Christ alone. In every situation he looked to Jesus and his strength, that inward turning allowed Paul to be at peace despite desert living. When it is dry and desolate I long to be like my four legged friend, always searching and digging for the water that only comes from God. God’s filling, his presence, his strength are available to me; my access to that is found as I delight in him.
I sense that this year will be a journey to delighting in God. It seems like a cliché to have the word delight as a banner word for the year, but that is where I am. And it seems like the end of March is a bit late to be sharing a word for the year, but I am a slow learner. It has taken time to learn what delight is and how it looks for me in my life right now; I know that I’ve only touched the tip of what this word means to me, of what God intends for me in it.
This year I will be a pilgrim, always journeying closer to Him. I am diving head first into this word delight, exploring it’s meaning and valiantly trying to find out what it looks like to “delight myself in the Lord.” I hope to come to the end of the year with a greater understanding of what God meant when he tells me to delight in him, and to fully realize how that impacts my life.