A friend of mine calls them dry times. Dry times are those times in your life, more specifically in your spiritual life when there seems to be a void. A time when all the things you typically do to nourish your soul seem to have stopped working. Some of you understand the dry times very well. You have lived through them. You may be going through one right now. Maybe you have recently come out of such a time. Here are few examples of how a dry time may express itself.
You are going through life pretty much like you always have, but one day things seem different. The sky is not as blue. The breeze is not as cool. The sunshine is not as bright. The snowfall is not as white. Rainbows don't provide much of a thrill. And very few things seem to give your heart much of a thrill. You are doing the same things you have always done. Except now you are enjoying it less. Very few things seem to excite you. When you try to describe how you feel you use the word "bored" more than you have in a very long time.
Your job once gave you a reason to get up in the morning. It was challenging. It was rewarding. Now, it is a job. You go. You put in your time. You come home. Nothing has changed. It is the same job. Nothing has gone wrong. You still like the people you work with and you still are paid well for your efforts. But, it just seems to bore you.
You have a great family. You love them. You would die for them. You long to be with them every opportunity you have. When one visit ends you begin planning the next one. When you are together you laugh, you cry, you really enjoy your family. You have a wonderful marriage. Your children are healthy. They are doing well in school. Life is good on the home front. But, something seems to be missing.
You have an amazing spiritual network. You have been on mission trips with some of them. You have taken vacations with some of them. Your children have grown up together. You have attended weddings, funerals, ball games, parties, seminars, workshops, and baptisms together. You look forward to being with them every opportunity you have. But, it seems stale.
Your personal spiritual life seems to be going well. You are doing all the right things. You read you Bible regularly. You pray consistently. You participate in an enriching small group. You occasionally teach a class. You sing on the praise team. You are even thinking about chaperoning a youth trip. You love your church. You love God. You love God's people. But, you feel empty.
Songs that once moved you tears now seem old and tired. Sermons that should touch your heart do not. Prayers seem shallow and repetitious. When people around you are weeping with compassion you are gazing out the window or checking your phone for messages. There is no place you would rather be than in an assembly worshiping God, but you just don't feel anything.
It is a dry time.
What do you do? Where do you go when your well is dry? Where do you go when your heart is empty? Where do you go to find joy? Where do you turn to when you to be refreshed? Where do you go when your soul needs to be restored? Where do you go when you need hope?
John (chapter 4) tells a story about woman going through a terribly dry time. In fact, dryness was about all she knew. Her home life, if you call it that, was a complete mess. She was lonely. She was rejected. She was isolated. Perhaps the saddest part of her story was that she had reached the point that she was resolved that this was all that her life would ever be. At one time she longed to have a real relationship, but that was so long ago she could barely remember what it was like. As was her routine when this Samaritan woman needed to refill her water jars she went to same well where she had always gone for water. She made sure she went during the middle of the day so that so that she would not bother anyone, and would not be bothered by anyone.
When Jesus initiated a conversation with her she was reluctant. Almost annoyed. Yet, there was something about Him that caught her attention and took her completely by surprise. He seemed to care about. He had no ulterior motive. He listened to her. He answered her questions. He actually heard her. He knew her even though she had never met him. He talked to her like a real person. He treated her like she mattered. He gave her hope. Her offered her a solution to her dry world. "This water," Jesus said, "if you will drink it will quench your thirst." "You'll never be thirsty again." "This is living water."
She drank the water.
She came to the well to fill her jars with water. She left having had her dry and empty spirit refilled and refreshed. As she shared her story others came from their dry world to drink of the living water.
Are you in a dry time? Follow the example of the woman at the well. Spend some time with Jesus. Get alone with Him. Dig into the Word. Go to a place of beauty and soak it in. Be still. Call or visit an old friend. Listen to your favorite music. Take a long walk. Rest. Listen. Play with a child. Serve someone who cannot return the favor.
Drink from the well of living water. After you drink. Share your story. You never know who else might be going through a dry time and God may use you to lead them to the living water.