“‘Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation.’
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
Isaiah 12:2-3 (NIV)
We had no running water in our house growing up in the Congo. My grandmother, Marcella, had found a spring in the forest across the lake from our home long before I lived at Nkara-Ewa. She had overseen the installation of a spigot into the hill to enable the water that flowed out of the earth to be captured in containers. In order to have drinking water and fresh water to wash our clothes, a raft with two empty and sanitized gas barrels was guided across the lake every morning and buckets would be walked up to the spring to secure the water we needed. This process took a full morning after the water had been deposited into the barrels and rowed back across the lake. The water was then brought up the hill in brimming tin pails and poured into the two one-hundred gallon drums just off our kitchen. My mom kept a continuous fire burning in the kitchen’s wood stove during the day to boil enough water for our family to drink. Two days a week, she would wash our clothes in the wringer washer my parents had brought with us from the States. It was an all-day process to wash the clothes because the hot water for our white clothing had to be heated on the wood stove.
Nothing could quench my thirst in the scorching afternoons better than a cool glass of water. Actually, water was the only beverage available to us other than powdered milk (yuck!!) and the very rare treat of Coca-Cola. After several months of living on our mission station, I decided to go with my dad to see the mysterious spring in the forest. After walking a good half-hour around the lake, we entered the dense patch of trees that I had seen everyday from our upstairs’ porch window. My dad pointed out the various birds and bats that lived in those trees. I suddenly walked closer to him after hearing the screeching noises and seeing the bats hanging from the branches just feet away from me. My mind imagined what the old spring, the source of my refreshment, would look like. I imagined something like the wishing well out of the movie, “Snow White.”
My dad’s footsteps abruptly stopped as the wall of the forest suddenly seemed to have come upon us out of nowhere. I looked for the well. There was none. Instead, there was a small pipe-like device coming out of the hill. I had imagined a gush. It was not a gush, but a steady trickle. I could now understand why getting our water was such a long and tedious process. There was a lot of waiting as the water filled the container.
Unlike the spring in Congo, the well of my salvation is bottomless. I am realizing that the choice is up to me how often I dip from that well and with what attitude. Bitterness, jealousy, and anger will not allow me to satisfy my thirst as my heavenly Father intended. The well is always there, but how deep the well is to me depends on my perspective. My joy is not dependent on my circumstances or earthly possessions. It is irrevocably entwined with the promises of a God who cannot fail me. I cannot be forsaken by Him. He will never abandon me. If I cannot find the joy He has promised, perhaps I am expecting the joy to be in something that He never intended for me to find it in. All my material possessions will one day be dust. The joy they give me is shallow and fleeting. Others will continue to disappoint me. Life may give me one blow after another. But I can still find joy if I go to its real Source.
Only in His presence can I find true, lasting joy. And what takes me into the sweet presence of my blessed God more than anything else is my praise. In Your presence, there is fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11) The well is deeper than I could ever have imagined when I open up my mouth and praise the One whose thoughts are higher than mine and whose mercies are new every morning. The well never dries up, nor does it contain any less joy, no matter how many times I draw from it. The deeper I draw from the well of salvation, the more profound is my joy, regardless of what is going on in my life.
Jesus, thank you that You are my well of salvation. Be my song today. Let me trust You no matter what comes my way. You can do no wrong; You are faithful in all your ways. Show me where the well is today because it may not be where I expect to find it. Lead me to praise You, for it is there that I will find joy that is complete, able to quench my thirsty soul.