Water In Desert Land

We all have seasons that are bountiful and bear good, even great fruit. But we all have seasons that are equally dry, lonely and often feel empty. We all come to the “reality” of this world; that it’s very broken. We face a desert that seems never-ending and the idea of enduring it seems like an impossible task. It wears on us and the burden feels heavy. These burdens can be unfortunate news, strained relationships, lacking or struggling to find purpose and meaning, etc. Everything around you feels like it’s caving in.

When Moses led the people out of Egypt into the literal desert (Exodus 14), there were many uncertainties. The people were, at first, trusting the process Moses laid out to them from God. Very quickly though, they complained, made idols then desired to go back to their old reality. This started when their new life and new environment seemed hard and uncomfortable. They longed for anything within their sense of control. However, this backfired because they also stopped trusting that the Lord would provide for, strengthen and get them through the desert season.
We also often do this when we face our deserts. I remember when I graduated college, there was a period of anxiousness in me due to not knowing what direction I was going to take in life. It was during the Pandemic. I was burnt out emotionally. I had to pack all my things and move back home. I had a degree but no job lined up.

As someone accustomed to living life by plans, I found myself stepping into a season of uncertainty, and this was terrifying. I grasped on to other things to help fill the emptiness and suppress the anxiousness I was feeling. But everything I did caused more worry about the “problem” I was facing.

Yet through this desert, even though I did not always trust what God was doing, He was faithful to keep showing me glimpses of His faithfulness. Slowly I started to trust His process as I stayed present with Him and with my church community. This taught me how to remain calm throughout the unknown. And in His timing, He opened doors that led me to where I am today! I wouldn’t be in my current position, nor have grown in my faith, if I hadn’t gone through that specific desert season. Like Moses, I had to learn to remain steadfast with the Lord.

 Jesus said in John 14 that those who drink from His well will thirst no more. Even through desert seasons, we must endure with hope, peace, grace and joy. These are the things that push us, deepen our faith, and build our character in Christ. Should we actively seek for deserts? No. But we should take them on when they come, knowing that through our relationship with Christ, these deserts too shall pass and we will grow- even in the desert!

If you are in a desert season, you may be wondering, “How do I hold on?” Community, quiet time, and the power of being present are a few (but key) elements that can help when you are in this type of season.

Community was a huge strength when I felt alone and weak in my desert season. Having Godly people active in my life helped guide me, keep me accountable and encourage me to trust God’s process even if it did not make sense to me at that moment.

A mentor told me that during this desert-season it was super important to take every opportunity I could to spend time with God. So during my morning commutes and lunch breaks, I would pray and read the Word. I started to write more, and I took opportunities to invite God into my everyday life activities. This changed everything. It made me more in tune with God. My rapport and love for Him deepened, which in return mitigated the worries I was facing.
This all led me to the last critical element; being present. The less I was on my phone or in the head-space of worrying, the more the presence of God and time with my friends and family brought peace to my life. The other things I was fearful of felt smaller and smaller. This gave me confidence to know that everything would pan out.

Did my desert go away immediately? No. Did I still have to go through the stress and unknowns? Of course. But by actively seeking the Lord, surrounding myself with people who were going to push me, encourage me and honestly discipline me, things felt more manageable and not so monstrous. The seasons began to change now that I wasn’t trying to do it all on my own.
This was my “living water” that Jesus graciously and abundantly gave so that I did not “die” in my own desert. He gives it richly, but make no mistake that it is our job to seek it and take those initial steps towards Him. His promise stands that “If we seek Him we will find Him, when we seek Him with all of our hearts!”

I encourage you with this verse “The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is His name” (Exodus 15:2-3).
Let’s remember that in our desert, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). In our times of hardships, let’s be reminded of how good our God is, so we can praise Him with everything we’ve got, even if it’s not much at the time. Because no matter how weak or deserted we feel, as we seek Him, the Lord will give us the water we need to heal and sustain us!

By Bethany Panza
Posted in


Traci - June 21st, 2023 at 8:32am

Thank you Bethany!

Debbie Ericksen - June 21st, 2023 at 8:45am

I can relate to this on so many levels. I've had desert experiences and I'm sure there's more coming. It's hot, dry, and lonely. But I am NEVER alone (Hebrews 13:5). And I am never without the living water of God's truth (John 7:37-39). In Psalm 91: 1-2, God says, "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.' " So...God even gives us shade!

Learning to be still and spend time quietly at God's feet (or not so quietly sometimes), filling my heart with the truth of His word, and making sure I am connected with other believers are all important on this journey. The quiet gives us one on one time with the Lord. We can spill our hearts to our Father. Then we listen. And even if we don't hear anything, we can rest on His promise that He's right next to us.

Sherilyn Pesce - June 21st, 2023 at 9:41am

Thank you! This was great to read! Trusting God has a perfect plan for us and staying especially close to Him when we don’t see or understand how our current circumstances are part of that plan - makes all the difference in the world! This is a lesson that I need to remind myself of over and over- thank you again!

Shawn - June 21st, 2023 at 10:32am

Thank you - this was excellent!

Evelyn Anderson - June 21st, 2023 at 10:59am

Thanks, Bethany. This is a life long message of truth we all need to live by in order to live out the abundant life in Jesus and He calls us to…no matter what.

Evelyn Anderson - June 21st, 2023 at 11:05am

Thanks, Bethany. This is the truth we all need to walk in …in order to live out the abundant life God calls us to…no matter what. So appreciate your insights so willingly shared to encourage the rest of us. Blessings & ❤️, Evelyn Anderson

Terry Angri - June 21st, 2023 at 7:56pm

Thank you so much for your willingness to share but also for your transparency. What you have discovered at such a young age takes many of us years to discover. This is such an encouraging message! Well done! ❤️

Debbie Ericksen - June 22nd, 2023 at 12:08pm

So true! It took me a long time to figure some of these truths out. When I was younger, I thought being a strong Christian meant having to have it all figured out and being all put together. So wrong. God pursued my heart...as broken as it was...because He loves me.

Marge Rand - June 21st, 2023 at 9:12pm

Thank you, Bethany, for sharing your experience. The Lord says, “Be still and know that I am God.” He is a good, good Father and He always knows what is best for His sheep. Thank you for your words of encouragement!

Janet Ressa - June 22nd, 2023 at 8:26am

Thank you Bethany for your words of encouragement. He is always with us in times of joy and trouble. I need to remind myself daily and hold on to Psalm 46:1. Thanks again for sharing.

Nancy Barth - June 26th, 2023 at 6:38pm

that is a good reminder of Gods blessing and promises.🌺