Psalm 23:1-3:
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

They almost slipped out of the room unnoticed. We had just finished an evening of worship and I was catching up with a friend when I saw them walking out. Dear friends, normally the ones to come up and give me a hug and a shower of encouragement, were leaving. I excused myself from my conversation and went to say goodbye to them.

“Are you doing OK?” I asked.

“No…” and the tears came. The last several months have been long and wearying for my friends. Personal challenges, changing family dynamics, and financial hardships are just a few of the things that have left them physically and emotionally exhausted.

I invited them to come back in so we could pray for them. I asked God to do a deep work to replenish those areas in their lives that are dry and parched.

When I think of “replenishing”, I picture the deep watering of a garden where the water soaks in and saturates the dry soil. It might seem that this sort of watering is an attempt to make up for neglecting to take care of the garden. However, a Google search for “watering plants” pulls up a number of articles that indicate that it is better to water more mature plants infrequently but deeply because doing so encourages the roots to grow deeper.

Is it possible that sometimes God allows us to go through difficulty for the same reason? That He may allow us to wait in our thirst before giving us something to drink? I think it is likely, because doing so encourages our roots to grow deeper.  I suspect that my friends, whose spiritual roots are already so deep, are being strengthened further and gaining even greater capacity to know and serve the Lord.

As human beings, we always need water. In fact, most of us do not drink enough, and whether we feel thirsty or not, we need a constant supply.  But when we feel thirsty, we KNOW we need water and we go after it.  Our thirst doesn’t create our need for water; our thirst exposes our need.

I am glad that I serve a God who leads me to the water at just the right time and restores – replenishes – my soul.