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God’s Life-Giving Waters

During a medical emergency, a woman has a profound realization about her relationship with God and the power of prayer.

God's Life-Giving Waters
Credit: Image Work/amanaimagesRF

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” — Psalm 42:1–2

One day, when my daughter was about eight years old, she came home from school feeling ill. I offered her something to eat and drink, but she said her tummy was upset and she was tired. So I tucked the quilt around her and let her sleep. After a while, I went back to see how she was doing and realized something was just not right. She was flushed and hot, but her skin was dry. Her eyes looked glassy and she could hardly lift her head. Her pulse was racing. I called to my husband and told him I thought we needed to get Anne to the doctor right away. He picked her up and held her as I drove to the nearest emergency room.

When we arrived, the nurse quickly took Anne’s vital signs. Suddenly, people were scurrying around, running to get an IV stand, asking us to sign permission to administer medication. The doctor issued clipped commands as he slipped the needle in our daughter’s arm then turned the valve on the line leading from the bag suspended on the metal pole beside her bed. I watched as the fluid poured into her small body.


Within just a few minutes, her eyes regained their sparkle, her skin became less flushed, her breathing eased, and, as we watched the monitors, her heartbeat began to slow down. The transformation was astonishing. The doctor explained that our daughter was suffering from dehydration. “But I offered her something to drink, and she said she wasn’t thirsty,” I replied.

“After a certain point, a dehydrated person may not feel thirsty. Other symptoms take over like headache, fatigue, nausea, increased heart rate, and respiration. But when the body chemistry gets out of whack, it can quickly become very serious. Without treatment, a patient may die.”

I looked back at my daughter, lying on the gurney, laughing and talking with the nurse. She was a completely different child from the one we had brought in just an hour earlier. All because she had received the fluids she lacked.

I think there’s a spiritual parallel to my daughter’s experience—sort of a “dehydration of the soul.” I’ve felt like that at times. My heart feels heavy, I can’t quite describe what’s wrong, but I’m not myself. I’m somehow “out of whack.” It’s easy to get discouraged, feel negative, sad, or lonely. I think that’s what the psalmist is referencing in the above verses.

Scripture often describes God’s spirit as life-giving water. Jesus offered to quench the thirst of the spiritually needy with “streams of living water” (John 7:37–38). This reminds me that the cure for my malaise is as close as my Bible. Reading Scripture, praying, and drawing close to Christ through meditation or song are all ways I can quench my heart’s thirst and become spiritually healthy once more. God is always available to any whose souls are parched. We need only ask him for his healing streams.

Thank You, God, for quenching my thirsty soul with Your life giving Spirit. Remind me to come to You when I feel empty or dry, fearful or fretful; when my soul pants for You. Amen.


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