Then Israel sang this song, Spring up,

O well...” 
 Numbers 21:17

Have you ever been tempted to tell your children about the serpents that bit the children of Israel when they grumbled? How about the ground that opened up to swallow them when in the midst of rebellious actions? Well, dear Moses, described as the most humble man that ever lived, quite often had a real mess on his hands. As a matter of fact, he spent a lot of time on his face. Yes.. this humble intercessor, deliverer, and faithful leader hit the deck when he heard the mumbles and grumbles of God's people. He sought God's forgiveness and wisdom when confronted with this motley crew. I realize, as I read these passages that I am far from that kind of response in my own life. Most of us tend to whine about the whiners. I can't think of anything more ineffective in dealing with those who see the glass half empty instead of half full.

We know all too well how tempting it is for us humans to lash out with our mouths when we are hurting and in pain. At the therapy center where Tom serves as chaplain, a team of us gird up our loins every Sunday and prepare for battle. Sometimes that battle is a disgruntled patient who wants us to lend a listening ear to their struggles, demanding that we fix their problem instantly. At times we have been shooed away quickly with a testy resident who doesn't want to see anyone and prefers isolation over company and encouragement. Others don't want to participate in a service that is not from their particular church denomination so they turn up the T.V. and tune us out. We realize that we are battling for the souls of men every time we walk in those doors. A few might never leave, many are on the last leg of life's journey, and most are struggling with grief and pain that has tunneled their vision and robbed them of hope for their future.

In the middle of their wilderness journey the Lord provided a well for the children of Israel. This passage in Numbers speaks of an oasis in the desert, an undeserved gift for a very ungrateful people. As we enter into the desert of people's lives, we are determined to provide an oasis. That oasis might be in the form of a beautiful handcrafted bookmark, or a color page from a little child. It might be a warm handshake or hug , a kind word or even just a smile. If we can get them to come to service, it might be a word spoken in season that lifts their spirits and encourages them to keep on course. Look around you today. Is anyone downcast? Perhaps they are grumbling about the weather, or the bills they can't pay, or the condition of our nation. Instead of grumbling back or grumbling at the grumbler, try offering an oasis in the desert of their lives. Like Moses, we would do well to seek the Lord in prayer. Surely the Lord will lead you to offer a cup of water to those who are thirsty. You might even find that the well you offer them will likely water your own soul as well!

mike at wellspring
A resident receives a special gift
handcrafted by the children