There once was this little girl who was lost in the woods. Surrounded by thick dark trees and complete stillness, not a creature moved past her eyes in the dimness of day hidden from the full light of the sun. She was alone.
The girl found a soft place to camp beneath a hard oak tree. Each morning she awoke from her mossy bed and left the protection of the branches in search of food and water.
One day she found a river.
Cold, refreshing, inviting waters that danced on the tip of her tongue as she eagerly filled her smile with life sustaining drink.
From her side pocket she pulled a small vessel of tin and filled it with water from the river. Eagerly she held the container in her hands and protected it from spilling the treasure inside. She walked back into the woods with her hands cupped, careful not to trip on a root.
Several times a nearby brightly flowered bush or gathering of (possibly poison-she was unskilled at telling the difference) berries distracted her for moments long enough to cause a few tear sized drops to spill over the edges of her cup.
When she reached the camp she had made by the tree she sat next to her hovel in meager triumph, the vessel of water in hand and admiration for its contents in her eyes.
Over the next few days she stared at the precious beaker half-filled with water as she lay on her bed. She thought about it while she was thirsty. At night she dreamed about the sparkling water within. Each day she longed to feel the cool stream run down her throat.
But she did not drink it. Nor did she ever return to the river.
What does this story mean to you? Was the girl a hopeful or a fool? Did she live long? What would you have done if you had found a river while you were lost in the woods alone?
Maybe you wonder why she didn’t drink the water she had rather than letting herself die of thirst, idly admiring instead of using it for its purpose. Perhaps you would have told her to get a larger container or return to the river as needed?
The girl allowed her surroundings to distract her. She failed to understand the purpose of the river she found when she was in need. I personally wonder why she did not move her entire estate to the riverbank and never leave it’s side?
The river was her source of life. What kept her away?
I think this story can illustrate the type of interaction we often have with God’s word.
We take a verse or two, maybe even memorize one of them. Or at least we write it down on a post-it note and put it neatly scripted in a visible place to admire. But we don’t let it penetrate our heart.
How often to we camp in the word and drink our fill? Even when we do we like to wander off with plans to return later, maybe. Or we think we have enough not to make another trip.
Why don’t we start coming to the river with bigger glasses and thirsty hearts?
Better yet, let’s go to the river and plant ourselves in deeply to stay.
“They are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither-whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:3
Cross-referencing: I just discovered this great tool for studying verses with the original Hebrew. Use it to find the deeper meaning of each verse and meditate on how it applies to you.
Start with this prayer from John Piper when you open your Bible:
Incline my heart to your word, Open my eyes to behold your word, Unite my heart (unscattered) to fear your name, Satisfy me with your steadfast love. Amen.
Write in a journal: You can go back and read what He has spoken to you in the past for encouragement.
Share with other believers: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17