My personal time of communion with God happens in the mornings. I use different methods. I read large portions of Scripture, I study characters like David, and sometimes I memorize portions of Scripture. I am currently memorizing Psalm 84. Memorizing can be mindless, robotic, and dry for some, but memorizing for me is always a great discipline. It engages my mind and forces me to pray the verses that I am committing to memory. So, anyways, I am on verses 5 and 6 of Psalm 84 today. They say this,
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs, the early rain covers it with pools.[i]
As I repeated the Psalm over and over this morning my mind asked a question “What is the Valley of Baca?” and like any great Bible scholar I googled the name. I found a true nugget of encouragement and promise. Here is what I learned!
“The Valley of Baca was part of the desert country. The valley was filled with thorns, wild animals, pitfalls, vipers and all sorts of danger. In addition, there were wells of water but they were often far apart and hard to get to. It was nearly impossible to travel this valley without facing extreme hardship and suffering. That is why the Valley of Baca was named because it literally means “Valley of Tears”. This was the place where Hagar and Ishmael wandered after Abraham sent them away. Hagar was Sarah’s servant who became Abraham’s concubine who gave Abraham his first-born child. Hagar, out of water, left her boy near a tree and walked a few feet away because she did not want to see her boy die. God heard her weeping in the valley and showed her where she could find the water she needed. Abraham traveled through Valley of Tears as God led him to the mountaintop to sacrifice his only son upon the altar as a symbol of his faith and obedience to God – but God had a well prepared for Abraham and provided a ram for the sacrifice. (A great picture of our substitution sacrifice through the Lord Jesus Christ for our sin.) Moses traveled the Valley of Tears as he fled into the wilderness; he dug a well. He rebuilt his relationship with God and drank from the pool of water that the rain of God provided and became the great leader of the Children of Israel. Job traveled the “Valley of Tears” as Satan was allowed to strip away everything that God had blessed Job with; Job came to a well in the valley. Job drank from the well of the living water and God restored to him many times more than what he had lost.”[ii]
I find it very encouraging that as heroes of our faith lived and walked in this valley. And as they walked through this desert of destruction, they found life in the springs and pools of God’s provision.
I also find it encouraging that, as the Psalm states, we bring water to the valley. I know from the teaching of Jesus that he gives strength to the weary though the power of His death and resurrection, he calls it living water.
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”[iii]
I am thankful that there is a spring of water within me that will never run dry, no matter the desert surrounding me. I am also thankful that rain will come on that desert covering it will pools.