The children of Israel knew their history. Their ancestors wandered in the desert wilderness for 40 years before entering the promised land of God’s abundance. At one point in their journey, when they were completely out of water, they cried out to the Lord in prayer and God provided water from a rock.
Hundreds of years later, during the time of Isaiah the prophet, God reminded them (and he reminds us!) that He is still the one to provide streams in the desert. God provides in miraculous ways. God takes a person who is spiritually dry and gives them eternal life! They know the refreshment that comes from abundant life with God.
Let me illustrate. I have a friend who was a police officer in a big city in America. He was married with children. But he was a hard man. He was rough, with very foul language and searing anger that could explode at any moment. He was an alcoholic. He had grown up aware of religion, but he was spiritually dry. He was lost. After years of marriage struggles, he and his wife got divorced. He relocated to another part of the state.
He began attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). He got remarried. Some friends from AA invited him to our church. He came week after week. He attended Bible study discussion group and worship services. God began to soften his heart. I remember the day that he came to talk to me at the end of the worship service. His huge hand shook mine, and he gave me a huge bear hug. He poured his heart out, and received God’s gift of salvation on that day. His life was changed forever. He became a brand new person in Christ. He now knows what it is like for God to provide streams of water in his life.
The poor and the needy seek water, but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, Yahweh, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will open rivers on the barren heights,
and springs in the middle of the plains.
I will turn the desert into a pool of water
and dry land into springs of water.
I will plant cedars in the desert,
acacias, myrtles, and olive trees.
I will put juniper trees in the desert,
elms and cypress trees together,
so that all may see and know,
consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isaiah 41:17-20)