“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a (well) place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.” Psalm 84:5,6
People in the Bible times didn’t have drilled wells, like we have behind our church, as a source of water. They didn’t have the luxury of simply turning on a spigot or tap to get water. Instead, they had to go to a well that was hand-dug and draw water out with a rope and container of some kind. They were, however, able to get water and be refreshed as we can be today.
The Bible, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, has a number of references to wells and fresh springs. In Genesis 21 we read how Hagar saved her son’s life after God showed her a well. In Exodus 15 we find the children of Israel coming to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees. Elim was a welcome place of refreshment after Israel’s experience with the bitter water at Marah.
In Psalm 84:5 and 6 above, a blessing is pronounced on the man who passes through the Valley of Baca (Valley of “Weeping”) and makes it a well from the springs that were found. This is speaking of sorrow being turned into joy – a “well of refreshing” that we can find if we look for it and trust in the Lord. Even in the times of hardship and sorrow, we need to keep our eyes on the hope set out before us. Our hope for the future gives us joy in the present.
This world that we are traveling through (“This world is not my home, I’m just a-traveling through”), is often like a wilderness. The journey is often rough, but along the way God provides us with wells of refreshing to encourage us forward and onward. There are a number of things that could be likened to refreshing wells. Church fellowship and a blessed married life are like wells. Other wells of refreshing are encouraging letters, phone calls, and visits from friends. It may be as simple as a smile or a kind word or deed.
We need to keep our eyes open for wells along the way. At the same time, we should always be considering how we might “be a drink of fresh water” to someone else with a word of encouragement, a pat on the back, or a phone call. Especially in this time of separation, we still need to encourage one another, just as the writer of Hebrews exhorts us: But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today.” Hebrews 3:13