The hot, dry air was relentless. The desert in the region of the Dead Sea in Israel showed little mercy. Even the occasional breeze was more like a gust of air escaping a blistering furnace. Perspiration failed to evaporate and thus it could provide no cooling. I was touring Israel with a cohort of recent graduates from Asbury Theological Seminary. We drank water at every opportunity. We drank water even though we were not necessarily thirsty. We had to consume nearly all the time to keep pace with the water our bodies lost in the roasting wilderness. After a few days, I discovered myself feeling weaker than I know how to describe. I could not rest and be restored. I did not know what was happening, only that even the energy required to move my arms and legs was almost more than I had to give. I was shocked to learn that I was dehydrated even though I was constantly drinking.

By God’s grace, some members of my cohort were much more well-seasoned regarding traveling. One of them approached me and told me he knew what I needed. He proceeded to hand me a package of powdered Gatorade that he’d packed for the trip. I was consuming gallons of water a day, yet I was dehydrated. I was dehydrated because I was depleted of electrolytes. Now, I’m not claiming to have found the mystical fountain of youth or anything, but I mixed that powder with water and drank it and within minutes I felt vigorous, strong, and refreshed.

This experience has led me to observe that people often go through life struggling to stay ahead of the hardships and demands of daily life, but despite their best efforts, they are getting wearier and weaker because they need something they don’t know they need. Just as I needed electrolytes for my body to work and even to make good use of all the water that I imbibed; people need spiritual nourishment to thrive. According to an online article from the Cleveland Clinic, “At the most basic chemical level, electrolytes help your body maintain balance. Just like electricity uses ions to travel from place to place in salt water, your body uses ions to transport chemical compounds in and out of cells.” Our great spiritual need is for proper communication between ourselves and God, and we need balance in every area of our life. This is supplied by grace and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Too many of us try to do more, have more, and use more, failing to see that this is just like drinking more and more water. All of that “more” is working to dilute our lives further catapulting us out of balance and desensitizing us to God. Just as our bodies do not make their own electrolytes, spiritual nourishment is something we need to seek from God. The practices of worship, Bible reading, prayer, giving, serving others, and taking a day of Sabbath rest are the channels through which God acts to supply us with the elements of grace we need so that we can thrive, be healthy spiritually, mentally, and physically, and so that we have balance. Balance produces gratitude and rest that is not available to us when we labor on our own to fulfill our lives with more of this and more of that.

Don’t be malnourished and dehydrated because you sought to live a fulfilled life apart from God. Had I not obtained those electrolytes, I could have eventually gotten sick enough to die. If you do not receive what God has for you, you will become spiritually weak, and weary, and if you neglect the Lord that can be spiritually deadly. How much better to hear Jesus say, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37-38 NIV). Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit when he said rivers of living water would flow through them. We cannot be Christians without the Holy Spirit. I hope you’ll get the spiritual nourishment you need.

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