and dry

and dry

in each direction.


Dust dry.

Desert dry.

Bone dry…


—Jan Richardson, Where the Breath Begins)

Have you ever stood on ground so dry that water flowing over it would not have a chance of penetrating it? Have you felt such dust in your throat that no drink might wash it away? Has your soul ever felt so parched and abandoned that it might never breathe again?

How is it with your soul right now?

The days of Lent are lengthening—and light and love are coming—but we are not quite there yet. The heavy desert-ness of Holy Week is still upon us.

As these next few days unfold, are you willing to walk into a place of discomfort with Jesus? Could you imagine yourself there—the despair—as the last supper unfolds, as the betrayal takes place, as Jesus is given over to trial, humiliation, and death? Do you have the courage to sit with that hopelessness, in that dust dry, desert dry, bone dry place?

Writer Jan Richardson urges us to “hope nonetheless. Hope despite. Hope regardless. Hope still.” In her poem “Blessing of the Well” she offers:

Rest yourself

beside this blessing

and you will

begin to hear

the sound of water

entering the gaps.


Still yourself

and you will feel it

rising up within you,

filling every emptiness,

springing forth


These days call us to remember the hopelessness of the dark, a cracked and quenchless thirst that is told to wait, wait, wait. Our souls are parched and would prefer relief. But stay with it: The gift is in the waiting and watching. Light and love are coming and hope will be restored.

 Jesus said to [the Samaritan woman], ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water.‘”

—John 4:13-15 (ESV)

Parched Ground

Megiddo, Israel, 2016