The other day I moving some stuff around in the basement and noticed the humidity readout on our dehumidifier. In the summer its not unusual for it to get into the 50’s but now, in the middle of winter, it read 15. There’s a dryness in the air that affects everything. It’s easier to get bit by static when opening a door or turning on a faucet. Even a kiss can be a bit painful when an unexpected spark of miniature lightning leaps from person to person. Guitars and dryness don’t get along, the wood shrinks and the glue gets brittle unless care is taken to keep them properly humidified. All of that turned my thoughts to how we can be affected by dryness of the soul.
There is a proverb that we love to quote, the first part of it anyway. The King James puts it this way, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine”. ESV – “A joyful heart is good medicine”. NIV – “A cheerful heart is good medicine”. Anecdotally and medically there is a lot of truth in that statement. Having a merry, joyful, cheerful heart and attitude does encourage healing of body, mind, and soul. But there is a second part to that Proverb, “A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22, NASB95) Through painful experiences, troubled relationships, evaporated dreams, the darkness of sin, and the despair of hopelessness we develop a dryness of soul.
This dryness of soul leads to brittleness, criticalness, and an expectation of pain even in the midst of joy. Being brittle means being easily offended, like dry skin that becomes cracked and painful, every move opening up new fissures. As a result, our lives and relationships are fractured, scattered, and painful. Being critical is perhaps the escape mechanism of having dryness of soul. In order to ignore our pain, our own broken and dry soul, we take comfort in condemning the failings of others. Trying to rise above our pain by hurting others. Even in those things that should bring us joy we fear the pain of closeness. Like the kiss that triggers a lighting spark of static, even though we desire the joy of a kiss we fear the pain it may bring.
One day Jesus encountered a dry soul. Ironically it was at a well and she had come to draw water. The woman was brittle, an outcast in her community. She didn’t come to the well early in the day like the rest of the women, but later in the day after they had left. The woman was critical of the worship of others. The woman had seen many relationships start with joy and end in pain. To her dryness of soul, Jesus offered living water. “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…Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but 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.” (see John 4:7–30, NASB95) That is God’s promise to us as well.
The only cure for a dry soul is living water. But the amazing part is not only for our own healing and revitalization, but that those same waters would flow from us to others. On another day Jesus declared, “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, NASB95) Often we just sip at Jesus’ living water like it is too hot to drink but Jesus invites us to drink deeply of His living water. Allowing it to fill our souls, wash away the pain, healing the brokenness, flooding our empty despair with faith, hope, and love. Beyond that, to surge out of our hearts and flood the hearts of others. Pronouncing encouragement instead of criticalness. Giving a hand up instead of a boot down. Willing to suffer loss in relationships because we are already filled to overflowing with Jesus’ love for us. Drink deeply of Jesus’ living water my friends and let it cascade on those around you.