On the Dry Ground

On the Dry Ground October 20, 2020

Ho! every one
that is thirsty in spirit,
Ho! every one
that is weary and sad;
Come to the fountain,
there’s fullness in Jesus,
All that you’re longing for:
come and be glad!

“I will pour water
on him that is thirsty,
I will pour floods
upon the dry ground;
Open your hearts for
the gifts I am bringing;
While ye are seeking Me,
I will be found.”


This old hymn came back to me today.

I recollect sitting in a pew in a little white church in Penfield, New York, on a Sunday night. There was some stained glass, but weren’t there, somehow, some open windows? I am not sure. I should check with Dad. Most of what I can remember for sure was feeling the reality of the truth: there is fullness in Jesus. If I sought, then I could find. These were old, basic, truths and even as a boy they were familiar, but that night God applied them to my soul.

This was not magic. There were no “right words,” just a dry soul, a longing, and divine water. I was spiritually thirsty and at least for me this longing is hard to define. What is it that I want? Physical thirst is quenched with water. Spiritual dryness requires spiritual water, but just what is that drink?

I had been dunked, a baptism like that of John the Baptist, in an April-cold West Virginia holy water. I had opened my heart and was born again. That was sweet water and made me glad.

Later in life, when very sad, I put my fingers in Holy Water and crossed myself. The life-giving Spirit came and made me well.

Life can get tedious, weary and sad, even when you are just a kid, so that night sometime in my life between my baptism and the Holy Water, I was in a church and God’s water came down on my heart. There was peace, contentment, life. That’s all, that’s enough.

In talking to folks, many say that this is a dry time: weary and sad. Duty is done, certainly. Truth is proclaimed. Beauty is defended. All this is good, but not enough. There is a heart longing, a thirst of the spirit, for more, fulness, holy water. 

We ask and sometimes the answer is to wait. Waiting reminds us that the final crossing of the Jordon is still to come. When we cross, we will never thirst again. The waters of death are a final baptism out of which we are raised alive. Yet this side of that river, we are dry. We need, we are not sure all of what we need. We thirst.

And I have hope, tonight, as I read this hymn and think about that Sunday night, so simple, so true, when there was fulness in Jesus. Sometimes we ask and the time is right. We look up and find the Fountain. The drink is good and more than enough: we are flooded with goodness.

So I seek knowing that the answer is always yes, eventually, utterly “yes” to any thirsty soul.

Maybe tonight will be a night for a drink of the sweet Water, the baptismal water, the Holy Water. If not, the floods of joy are coming soon, washing away the dirt, the weariness, the dryness. We pray in hope for the gifts He is bringing.

Those who seek find. Those who thirst find drink. Maybe this very night?


And then, on the Day, all the time.


The song echoes Isaiah 44 and many other Biblical passages:

The children of Israel getting water from a rock in the wilderness. 

The woman at a well: Jesus told her she never needed to be thirsty again.

Jesus dying and thirsty on the Cross.

Give me that sweet water until I thirst no more!


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