Africa is an extremely diverse continent not only in terms of its people but also its habitat. It has everything from huge deserts to mosquito-breeding swamps, mountains that rival the Alps and valleys so steep that for generations people could only leave on foot, pulling reluctant donkeys!

My home country, South Africa, has a little bit of everything and Best Beloved and I enjoy our adventuring trips, especially round the Western Cape. Living near the coast as we do, one can easily forget that not too far from us lies the semi-desert of the Klein Karoo, but every time we go to visit my sister, we take the less-travelled road that takes us through this arid region. It’s Old Country, with names that reflect the hopefulness of past generations trying to find a home. Water is scarce and often the merest suggestion of its presence is there in a name. A rusty sign at a worn old bridge over a dry riverbed says Sand River, and we laugh.  We pass a farm, and we wonder at the strangeness of calling a home, “Well-without-water”.

Water. Living where it’s always ‘on tap’, it’s all too easy to forget that there are people literally dying for a drink. Dehydration – the lack of water in the body – is a terrible problem faced by too many, but it can be easily rectified by someone who cares.

How sad, then, that too often I do not recognize the real source of the dryness of my spirit. Something is ‘off’ but I’m not sure what. I dig in the sandy riverbeds of my soul hoping to find what used to flow there, I hasten some place where the water seems to be flowing but find it a ‘well-without-water’.

Then I hear the voice of my Lord Jesus once again: “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

I open my mouth to pray, and in opening my mouth, I drink.