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I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. Isaiah 41:18 (ESV)

On a steamy July evening in Rome, my husband and I decided to walk from our hotel to the famous Trevi fountain. An ostentatious structure, it marks the end of a Roman aqueduct. The aqueduct was constructed in 19 BC to supply water from a spring to the thermal baths for the emperor Agrippa

A fountain stood at the end of the aqueduct even in Roman times. However, after the Roman Empire ended many features fell into disrepair. It wasn’t until the Renaissance that popes began decorating the ends of aqueducts with large richly decorated fountains in order to restore Rome’s reputation as a worthy capital of the world.

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Their investment paid off. Centuries later hundreds of other tourists had the same idea as my husband and me. They, too, came to the fountain to watch the refreshing spring water spill into the aqua-colored pool below.

God promises to answer the prayers of his children who feel hopeless and in need. Refreshment comes from his Spirit dwelling within us.

Fountains have significance in the Bible, too. In the book of Isaiah, the provision of spring water announced God was about to do something new.

See, I am doing a new thing! God says in Isaiah 43:19, I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

These were welcome words for God’s people exiled in Babylon. I imagine their hearts leapt with excitement as they listened to Isaiah proclaiming God would make the desert lush with springs, rivers and fountains.

Led into captivity, their land invaded by armies, and the holy city of Jerusalem overtaken, the people living in exile were more than desperate. Isaiah describes them as poor and needy who search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst.

In their anguish and longing, the people had cried out to God.

Then, the answer came. God would do something far greater than they could conceive. It would be like cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, junipers, fir and cypress trees flourishing where nothing normally grew.

God would make a new way to have a relationship with him. It would not be like the old agreement made with Moses. Then the people of Israel had to keep their side of the contract, but they had failed miserably in their commitment. As a consequence the curses had come upon them. Failure led them into exile.

However, now, God’s goodness and mercy would flow again. The new covenant would come with his Son, Jesus, and a commitment that could not be broken.

The new arrangement would not be external laws people had to keep, but an internal transformation of people’s hearts  made possible by Jesus’ blood.

Jesus offered what Isaiah told. He said: Whoever comes to me will never be thirsty. 

With the water Jesus provides, we never thirst. We have new life in every drop.

As we begin a New Year, be reminded of this refreshment. If you feel your situation is helpless, cry out to your heavenly Father. If the months ahead look barren, look to the Provider. If you feel a failure, turn to Jesus.

God promises to answer the prayers of his children who feel hopeless and in need. Refreshment comes from his Spirit dwelling within us.

God does amazing things in the desert of our lives. He makes springs of water gush within our hearts and souls.

Read

Hebrews 8:7-13

John 4:14

Luke 22:20

Reflect

What area of your life feels like a dry desert?

Have you truly poured out your need to God and trusted Him for new life?

Respond

What new thing would you love for God to do in your life this year?

Can you see a trickle of the stream He is making in your desert?

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Linking up with Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart and Arabah Joy at #GraceandTruth

  • It would nice to have that trickle be a steady stream. He has poured his love into my life and I praise Him for that.

  • Hi Rachel!! I’m not surprised at your post– it goes along with almost every other “Welcome 2017” post I’ve read… and even the one I’ll be posting later on today… but The Spirit is saying something through you, and so many others– all about newness and fresh starts… and blah, blah, blah… maybe it’s because I’m sitting here going, “I get it Lord!” But what I LOVE about your post compared to so many others that keep repeating, “Seek Him first” or “Find Joy” is that you remind us so clearly and gracefully that with the new covenant, God is ALREADY beckoning us. He’s saying, “I’m here… I’m ready to pour out on you!” ..and that’s the call and completion we need to step forward in faith! so thank you <3 blessings to you as you've blessed me!!

    • Thanks Nicole. I appreciated reading your perspective. I love delving deep into scripture and finding out what good and refreshing things the Lord has in store for us – like the new covenant.

  • A very refreshing blog post, Rachel!
    I love that God is doing a new thing in SO MANY lives!
    About 34 years ago, I was at a conference in Belgium where we sang a song I still remember:
    All over the world the Spirit is moving,
    All over the world, as the prophets said it would be, (hallelujah)
    All over the world there’s a mighty revelation
    Of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
    The 2nd and 3rd verses were the same except for “All over the world” is “Deep down in my heart” and “All over the church” respectively.
    The Scripture you quoted reminded me of that song.
    Also, I just wrote a blog post called “Lessons from the Wilderness” that you might be interested in reading: https://plantedbylivingwater.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/lessons-from-the-wilderness/

  • I asked God for confirmation on a little project/prayer challenge I’m creating…I always go back and forth..is this GOd wanting me to slow down? or Satan jacking with me? After praying, and reading this post, I am confident God is behind me! Thanks for your words and perfect timing!

  • I’ve seen this post pop up everywhere these past few days. I love seeing God move and get a message out using different people. Thank you for linking up over at the Grace & Truth link up party.

  • The photo is stunning – gorgeous! It always amazes me what craftsmen were able to do years ago. The photo with one of my very favorite scriptures has stunning effect. Your words are so true – that in the midst of the challenges, those deserts of our lives – we need the living water Christ gives us to sustain us so that we don’t grow weary. Beautiful encouragement for this new year!

  • Rachel,
    I always love reading your inspiration thoughts and these especially are resonating. I loved your illustration of the fountains of Rome and I’m convinced too, that great value lies in the wilderness seasons of our journeys with God. Thank you for sharing these words — and that great photo — with us!

  • This was such an encouraging message. I will challenge myself to memorize that verse… and trust the springs of fresh water will surely come when I roam in the wilderness! Thank you for sharing this. It nourished me. <3 (visiting from CFMH)

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