"From there the Israelites went on to Beer, a well of which the Lord had said to Moses, ‘Assemble the people together, and I will give them water.'"
Numbers 21: 16, Amplified Bible
The Well of God's Joyfulness
"Joyfulness" -- The expression of great delight and pleasure. A source of happiness and satisfaction.
"Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling."
"The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything."
Julian of Norwich
Revelations of Devine Love
Having grown up living in desert areas of California and Arizona, I know what it is like to feel the hot summer sun on your head and the burning earth beneath your feet. Thankfully, with the fabulous invention of air conditioning, desert living is very pleasant now.
But just think what it must have been like for the Israelites, thousands of years ago, as they made their way from Egypt to Canaan. It was hot. It was dry. It was windy. It was sandy and rocky. And the journey seemed as though it would never end. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year.
One day you pitch your tent, a few days later you take it down and pack everything up. What's worse, this tedious routine was repeated over and over again. Think about it! I can tell you for certain, I wouldn't have found any enjoyment in a trip like this. And quite frankly, the children of Israel didn't either. In Numbers 21: 4, we find out exactly how they felt:
"And the people became impatient (depressed, much discouraged), because of the trials of the way."(Amplified Bible)
Have you ever felt depressed or discouraged because of the trials on your journey? I know I have. It's easy to get caught up by the troubles that plague us each day.
But what happened next in the story is a great lesson for you and me. The people grumbled against God and Moses. And the result was a plague of fiery serpents that came into the camp. Isn't this what happens to us when we grouch and grumble about the mess we are in? It's as though a fiery serpent has bitten us. We're depressed. Blue. Negative. Sad. And the list goes on and on.
So what did Moses do? Remember, the people had been vicious in their attacks on him. But instead of holding a grudge and telling everyone, "You got yourself in this jam - you can get yourself out," Moses, as instructed by God, made a bronze serpent and raised it on a pole. When anyone suffering from a bite by the poisonous serpents looked at the bronze serpent - they were healed. This may sound strange at first. How do the fiery serpents, discouragement, and healing relate to a bronze emblem on a pole?
Here's how! As a very basic way of showing what happens when we look away from ourselves to Jesus, Moses used this example to help the Israelites look to God for help when they needed it.
After this experience, we find the people of Israel traveling for several days and God came to Moses and said, "Stop at Beer where there is a well and I'm going to give you water." The people were so happy they burst into song, "Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it" (Numbers 21: 17, Kings James Version).
What a difference looking up for help and healing from God made in the lives of the Israelites. And it makes a difference in our lives, too, when we look to Jesus. Just as the children of Israel were given life and joy by looking at the symbol of the Saviour to come - so by looking to Jesus for help in the dark moments of our lives, we can also be given new life and great happiness. In the words of the prophet, Isaiah: "Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing…and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away." (Isaiah 51: 11, K.J.V.).
"The soul of one who loves God always swims in joy, always keeps holiday and is always in the mind for singing."
St. John of the Cross
"You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush
will grow the pine tree,
And instead of briars
the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord's renown,
for an everlasting sign,
which will not be destroyed."
Isaiah 55: 12 -13
"You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore."
Psalm 16: 11
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.