An Open Invitation to the Thirsty Soul

More often than not, in the corner of my kitchen, there’s a perky arrangement of fresh flowers. Blue mophead hydrangeas freshly cut from the garden are my flower of choice. The name hydrangea originated from two words, water hydros and jar angos. It’s fitting because these vibrant flowers require a constant water source to flourish. Without water, the thirsty blooms rapidly wilt.

When the flurry of spring ministry finally calms, you may feel like a withered flower in a dried out vase. Could it be that ministry work has been so demanding that you’ve neglected the source of living water and now find yourself dry as dust on the inside?

While ministry never comes to a full stop, the slower pace of summer is an overdue invitation to deeply water our souls. There are natural cycles of ministry, and this is a prime season to nourish our bodies and spirits so we’re refreshed when ministry resumes at warp speed (hello, fall!). Before you start overloading the calendar with fun stuff, consider first that your soul needs refilling.

An Invitation to Refreshment

Come, everyone who is thirsty,
   come to the water;
and you without silver,
   come, buy, and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without silver and without cost! (Isa. 55:1 CSB)

There are some invitations I would never turn down. The wedding of my grandchild. A seat as the guest of honor. A meeting with a distinguished person I admire. The invitation from God should fall into the same category. Shouldn’t we be astounded that the God of the universe wants to meet with us? Too often we’re not impressed enough to RSVP. Say yes to the invitation from your Heavenly Father. The only cost is the cost of not coming. How much more will your soul waste away if you continue to delay? 

Psalm 63: A Thirsty Soul Refreshed

David wrote Psalm 63, to water his soul while hiding in the desert, weary and far away from the sanctuary he loved. This king, who was hunted down by Saul, kicked out of the palace by his own son, and cursed by Shimei, a brother in the faith, is qualified to teach us that personal worship doesn’t hinge on circumstances or a modern-day addiction to busyness.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
   my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
   as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (63:1)

Let’s acknowledge how hard the journey is. There are late nights, early mornings, conflicts to navigate, volunteers to recruit, devotions to write, budgets to stretch, problems to solve, meetings to run, Bible studies to organize, and events to plan. 

 

A call to serve Jesus comes in the shape of a cross. We live in a world infected with sin, and since it isn’t our true home, it can feel like isolation in a barren wilderness without an oasis. Yet, even the desert has its redemption. The blessing of a desert condition is that it causes a cavernous thirst for God—when our whole being cries out for a drenching of satisfaction that only He can give. 

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
   beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
   my lips will praise you. (63:2–3 ESV)

There was a time at the end of an intense ministry year that I’ll never forget. With my Bible opened on my lap, I paused for a long, slow exhale feeling empty and parched. God met me with a water jar. His presence commanded the room like nothing I’d ever experienced before (or since).

Immersed in His majesty and glory, I understood the truth that God’s loving presence is exactly as the psalm described—better than life itself. It is a love I didn’t know existed. The love of God is other-worldly. It is a love that makes you collapse in tears. Our Father’s love is a vast ocean where you can swim forever and not reach the shore. And not even the pressures of ministry can separate us from the deep sea of Christ’s love (Rom. 8:38–39).

So I will bless you as long as I live;
   in your name I will lift up my hands. (63:4 ESV)

Next, the psalmist says, “so.” The incomprehensible love of God evokes worship. Has it been a while since you’ve soaked in the waters of His love? Our hands aren’t only designed for busy work, they are meant to be lifted up in worship. Thirsty soul, remember the ways God has been faithful to you in the past year. Thank Him for each life that has been transformed through your ministry. Praise Him for the privilege of serving an Almighty God. And keep doing it. Worship restores your thirsty soul.

I follow close to you;
   your right hand holds on to me. (63:8 CSB)

To follow close literally means to be joined or glued together (See the same word used in Genesis 2:24). When two things are glued together, it’s difficult—if not impossible—to separate them. My granddaughter loves PB & J sandwiches. Have you ever tried to separate peanut butter mixed with jelly? Of course not. It can’t be done. 

What would it look like in your life to be glued to Jesus? The answer may look different for each of us but I know this: Following close to Jesus—glued to Him—is a worthy, lifelong pursuit. F.B. Meyer expressed it this way, “Let there be no needless space between the Master and thee.”

Jesus will never let you go even when you misplace your priorities and ignore His invitations. He holds us with His right hand, which is a symbol of divine power and protection. Even when we don’t realize it, God is there. His hand is always sustaining us.

Wherever you are today, whether saturated or dry, ask Jesus to lead you forward, and to show you how to bless His Name with each breath you take. Wake up each day with the desire to be glued to the One who made you, who delights in you, and under whose smile you live and move and have your being (Acts 17:28).

Thirsty Souls in Community

Since leadership is a lonely calling, we must not overlook the gospel refreshment that comes from being in the company of God’s family. The apostle Paul asked the Christians living in Rome to pray for him because he longed to visit them and be refreshed by their community (Rom. 15:32). 

In ancient times, young women were given the daily chore to draw water in the mornings and evenings from the local well. The well became a gathering place for them to rest and engage in conversation. Women still need gathering places.

 

Leaders often tell me of their longing to connect with women who are walking a similar path. We need honest conversations with sisters who understand the sacrifice and high calling of a ministry servant. We long for a safe place to be heard and pray together. 

Perhaps that is missing from your life right now. Revive Our Hearts can help. Our Ambassador team, the Leader Facebook group, and conferences are sources of developing friendships with like-minded servants of God. Whatever obstacles are preventing you from forming a sisterhood of ministry peers, pray that God will remove the barriers and lead you to life-giving relationships to refresh your soul.

RSVP 

The invitation stands. Will you say yes? Plant yourself beside the streams of living waters for many reasons—but above all—to be restored by the Word of life, to delight in intimacy with Jesus, and be prepared for the fruit-bearing that is to come. When a soul is watered in the joy of God’s presence, 

[S]he is like a tree planted beside flowing streams
that bears its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
Whatever [s]he does prospers. (Ps. 1:3 CSB)

Sister, as you have refreshed many others, I’m praying you will be refreshed by the Lord this summer (Prov. 11:25).

About the Author

Leslie Bennett

Leslie Bennett served as a Director of Women’s Ministries for a dozen years prior to joining Revive Our Hearts in Women’s Ministry Initiatives. She is the editor of two ebooks: Women’s Ministry Leader Survival Guide and 10 Truths to Set Leaders Free.

The Lord captured Leslie’s heart for biblical womanhood and revival at the national True Woman conference in 2008. Since then, she’s been spreading the message of how a woman’s femininity adorns the gospel wherever God sends her. Spend a few moments with Leslie, and you’ll catch her passion for the Word, prayer, revival and discipleship. She and her husband Mac live in the S.C. Lowcountry where she loves drinking sweet tea and encouraging women to treasure Christ above all.

Contact Leslie at LBennett@ReviveOurHearts.com