Pause to Refresh

by Nan Corbitt Allen

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him. John 7: 37-38 CSB (emphasis added)

The little South Alabama town where I grew up in the 1960s has a natural phenomenon that was responsible for some of my most delicious memories. The story is that around the early 1920s some speculators believed there was oil hiding under the town’s surface. In drilling for oil, however, they discovered an enormous artesian well (definition: an underground spring that naturally spews to the surface without a pump).  At around 1500 feet below, a subterranean spring began to spout 100 feet into the air and has continued flowing until this day—producing 1200 gallons of water a minute. A new above-ground lake was born on that day. But someone had the forethought to harness some of that naturally flowing water and funnel it into an enormous swimming pool. It was in that pool that I learned to swim.

The water was cold, even in the long summer months. Since the water came straight out of the ground through a large pipe, and then into the pool, the water was always fresh. And it was recirculated by leaving the main pool, flowing into the “baby pool” and then into the lake.  The main pool emptied and refilled itself every two hours. The pure H2O contains 27 nourishing minerals which are beneficial to life.

The whole Lake Geneva complex, with dance floor, snack bar (and even a cage for a pet monkey) was privately owned and immaculately maintained. I can still feel the shock of jumping off the diving board into the water below. It almost took my breath away. And on those hot, humid southern days, the temperature contrast was even more pronounced…and welcome.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if those drilling for oil had actually found it, pumped it out, and sold it. Somebody (or their heirs) would now be counting their money and the whole town’s economy would have taken a different path. I also imagine the disappointment that the prospectors had when that drill hit water instead of oil. The use of fossil fuels has come under fire in the last several decades, so one can only speculate that the boom would have died out at some point and the dream of prosperity with it. 

However, what riches we’ve enjoyed for a century all because of a failure to achieve the initial goal!

That’s the point here. The “weeping prophet,” Jeremiah, was God’s mouthpiece to the ancient Israelites, mostly with warnings of gloom and doom. Here, however, is one of his more positive prophecies:

“For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 CSB.

Maybe I’m reaching (or digging) for a metaphor here, but the memory of the artesian well keeps coming back to me in fresh ways.

Isaiah, my favorite prophet, reported that God said. “I will open rivers on the barren heights, and springs in the middle of the plains. I will turn the desert into a pool and dry land into springs.” (Isaiah 41:18  CSB)

I’m thankful for the well-spring that one beautiful excavation mistake created for me. I’m looking forward to how God will unearth deep-flowing truths to me, and to all of us, that will bubble to the surface.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Nan Corbitt Allen

About the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 45+ years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books.

Nan and Dennis retired in 2020 from full time teaching at Truett McConnell University. They now live south of Nashville. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.

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Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the great impact seemingly insignificant, routine experiences can have in our lives. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Join the conversation: Has the Lord unexpectedly moved you away from a goal you had? How did that work out for you?

The Tool of Drool—And Thirsting Well

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

No kidding, I had this very conversation with my daughter the other day:

Kaley:  Know what I found just now on Pinterest? Peanut butter cup gooey butter cake.

Me:  I just gained three pounds hearing you speak those words.

Kaley:  I just lost three pounds in drool.

After I thought about it—well, after I laughed, and then after I thought about it—I decided she might actually have something there. The next diet craze? How about “Slobber Yourself Thin!”

I don’t know why that shouldn’t work for me. Show me an even half-decent fudge cake and suddenly I’m a St. Bernard.

On the new diet plan, it wouldn’t even matter that I’m not the greatest cook in town. Nothing would depend on my baking. Just other people’s pictures of theirs. Seems to me as long as there is social media, food snapshots won’t be a problem. Log on any medium and there’s a virtual slobber-azzi.

I’m intrigued by the exercise implications here too. Instead of the tying on the tennies for running, I could just tie on the drool bib. Ready, set, salivate!

Who knew drool could be a strategic tool in the arsenal of weight loss weapons? I think I’ll start a board on Pintrest for all my spittle-inducing photos. Kaley said I should call it “Pavlov’s Pics.” … That does ring a bell.

But you know what rings truer? The reality of our spiritual appetites. I have to ask myself regularly what my soul might be drooling after. In this fallen world, the temptation is always there: hunger for possessions or pleasure, thirst for enjoyment or ease. Our enemy whispers in our ear, enticing our focus away from things eternal to everything temporary and ultimately unsatisfying.

Our souls are created to be thirsty. The problem is that we so often go after all the wrong things to quench that thirst. We head for the temporary substitutes that leave us more spiritually dehydrated than ever.

It’s funny how as we stay hungry and thirsty for the Lord, we’re satisfied. Hungry and thirsty. Yet at the same time, completely satisfied.  Our thirst—our longing for Him—can be a tool in the hand of God, shaping us into the image of Christ by His Holy Spirit. As we’re reminded of our desperate need for Him and as we ask Him to fill us, any other thing we ever craved make so much less sense. He is absolutely all we need.

David “prayed thirsty” in Psalm 63:l: “God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water” (HCSB).

Just a few verses later, we’re given a delicious description of what happens after a hungry/thirsty prayer: “You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:5 HCSB).

That leaves me feeling wonderfully full, in the most real, to-the-soul way. Jesus said in John 7:37-38, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him,” (HCSB).

Father, Son and Holy Spirit—we are complete in our triune God who meets our every need.

No fooling. And no drooling.

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The Tool of Drool—And Thirsting Well – @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and a humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and many more. She is the author of 12 books, including Fix-Her-Upperco-authored with Beth Duewel, and a hilarious novel, Turtles in the Roadco-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Rhonda and Kaley are also excited to be teaming up with Bridges TV host, Monica Schmelter, for a new book and TV series titled, Messy to Meaningful—Lessons from the Junk Drawer. Rhonda enjoys speaking at conferences and events from coast to coast and serves as a consultant for Bold Vision Books. She lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown, mostly-coffee-drinking children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: How do you differentiate between good and bad things to drool over?

Can’t Have One Without the Other

by Adria Wilkins

Do you like figs? Figs technically are not considered fruit. They are actually inverted flowers. In fact, if you eat a fig you more than likely will eat a fig wasp without even realizing it.

A common phrase you might hear is, “You can’t have one without the other.” This is true for figs. We can’t have figs without the fig wasp. The female fig wasp squeezes inside a small opening of the fig called an ostiole. She loses her wings and antenna in the process. She pollinates, lays her eggs, and then dies.

My son and I discovered figs at our local farmers market and found them to be sweet and delicious. Before the days of refined sugar, figs were often used as sweeteners.

Sycamore figs are native to the middle east and parts of Africa. It is similar to our common fig, but it is smaller and sweeter and about the size of a marble.

A well-known and beloved Bible story features a Sycamore-Fig tree. Luke 19:2-6 says, “A man was there by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zaccheus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly” (Luke 19:2-6 NIV).

I remember as a child singing about Zaccheus being the wee-little man who climbed up in a sycamore tree. Sycamore-fig trees generally grow near a river or water source. Zaccheus had a job as a tax collector. He was probably taking a break from work to get a glimpse of Jesus, who is the Living Water.

Zaccheus was a thirsty man. He was considered a “sinner” by his Jewish society because of his business association with the Gentiles. Tax collectors were hired by the Romans and were given a certain figure they must collect from travelers. But there was not limit on what they could charge. So anything extra the tax collector obtained, he could pocket for himself. As you can imagine, people considered them extortionist, getting rich off the backs of his people.

But Jesus had the answer for the life he had chosen. He climbed up the Sycamore-Fig tree to get a glimpse of the man who spread grace and forgiveness wherever he went. Exactly what Zaccheus needed. And when Jesus called him down, he came gladly. He found eternal refreshment in Jesus.

Jesus gave his life for us on the cross. He died so we could live. That relationship continues in dependence on Him. Just like the fig can’t survive without the fig wasp, we can’t survive and thrive without Jesus.

Each day most people get some type of lunch break. What if we took the time not only to be refreshed by food but spending time with Jesus in His Word and talking with Him? What would the rest of our day be like? Jesus the Living Water will strengthen us for the task we need to complete the rest of the day. Our lives, just like Zaccheus,’ will be transformed by spending time with Jesus.

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ John 7:37-38 NASB

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Can’t Have One Without the Other – insight on #FollowingGod from Adria Wilkins on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

adria picAbout the author: Adria Wilkins enjoys telling a story, adding sprinkles of joy and a few extra dollops to liven it up. She and her husband, Erik, live in Northern Virginia and have three children Katie, Blake, and Anthony. After suffering the unthinkable death of three-year-old Blake, she found that Jesus sustains and evens surprises His followers with joy.

She is a contributor to Refresh Magazine and writes a column called “Caregivers Corner: Caring for Children” for Broken but Priceless. She is a contributing author to many anthologies, including Just Breathe (Worthy Publishing).

Adria’s new book will release on July 23. The Joy Box Journal is a collection of forty bite-sized stories, Scripture, and inspiring quotes that show how joy can be found in any situation. Record your journey in the journal, jot moments of joy on the included notepads, and tuck those notes in the joy box for safe-keeping so you can reflect over them for years to come.

Join the conversation: What do you do to have refreshing times with the Lord?