Water and a Compass-Ready for the day
Updated: Mar 5
Even before COVID-19, I have been an avid walker. Last summer, while my younger son was hiking at Philmont Scout Ranch BSA in Cimarron, New Mexico, with a crew of young men and women, I was trekking along in tandem with him by visiting local parks near our home.
Now with COVID-19, walking is even more solace to my weary, isolated soul. I put on my work-out clothes and my athletic shoes; I grab my phone and earbuds; and before I head out the door, I make certain that I have a bottle of water. Trust me, water is vital to a walker and especially living in Texas. The summers can be brutal!
As I trek to a local park in the early morning hours with the sun rising in a glorious azure sky, I tune into a favorite pastor’s podcast to hear the daily devotional and then the daily message. While I take in the view of trees and ponds, and as I smile at the fellow athletes walking, running, and biking past me, I reflect on God’s goodness and greatness, thanking him for my blessings small and large.
Today, after the minister’s message about the peace that comes only from a life committed to Jesus, I fear how nonbelievers might view me as being preachy if I witness to them about God’s plan of peace in their lives through the salvation of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. They may see me as a holier-than-thou pointing a finger at their mistakes while appearing perfect. But they miss the message of my witness. I am not perfect—only God and his Son Jesus are. Because They are perfect yet condescend to form a relationship with me, I know and feel that I am not alone in my daily struggles of self-esteem and broken relationships. The Lord, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit form the very water that quenches the thirst in my soul--the living water I will never thirst from lack of. My walks are a way to commune with God in the natural beauty He created. I feel refreshed in His love that He rains down on me as I hear His Word preached in my ears.
Jesus himself talks about the living water of God with the Samaritan woman at the well beginning in John 4:10: “Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (NKJV). Jesus explains this eternal life-giving substance in John 4:14 (NKJV) “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The Samaritan woman begs for this water from Jesus. I am reminded of the simplicity of hydrogen and oxygen in perfect combination which can satisfy my physical, parched throat. Even deeper, I am confirmed in the fulfillment of Jesus’ presence in my life to revive my fleeting spirit in the face of life’s difficult moments such as a lack of confidence to witness to a lost or hurting person or knowing how to repair those broken relationships.
As any experienced hiker will attest, beyond an ample supply of fresh water, one needs a compass to stay on course. A person without a compass can become lost in a sea of pine trees and green shrubs wandering aimlessly about through a maze of trails or spiritual trials.
My Eagle Scout son along with his crew had compasses and maps to chart their direction on their Philmont treks. They had learned how to use these precise instruments as tools for their destinations. I have learned how vital God’s presence through prayer and study of His Word is my moral compass. I discover the direction for my day, week, year, and life through meditation upon His Word and time alone with the Lord in earnest prayer. A familiar verse given to many new Bible readers comes from Psalm 119:105 (NKJV): “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119 is the longest of all the Psalms, but this brief section is the heart of the message: a Christian needs the moral compass of God’s Word to provide illumination into one’s soul. With the light of God’s Word, we are directed by the Lord who leads us through our difficulties. Knowing God has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV), we see that His Word, the Bible, provides the signposts to journey toward those plans.
As I finish my daily morning walk, I am filled with a flood of hope, joy, and peace at the prospects that the Lord has in store for me. I do not need to know the details. I just continue to drink in the Word of God and use my compass, the Bible, to discover the details as each beautiful day unfolds. I dwell in the peace of God’s presence, here and now.