Sunday Sermon 3.13.21
This is the route you’ve chosen, mile after mile of hot, dry desert sand carrying a heavy load bundled on your back or beast. Water and provisions are low, strength is vanishing, and no relief is in sight. No oasis is near.
Scattered over these Saharan desert sands are over 90 major oasis and for the largest desert in the world (about the size of the continental US), that means traveling between them will take days. Merchants and traders make the trip totally dependent on the promise of replenishment and rest that the oases provide.
An oasis is a fertile area that has a freshwater source, surrounded by a dry and arid region. They are irrigated by natural springs underground and vary in size from a small cluster of palm trees to a city with crops. Visible above ground, are date palms and other lush vegetation. Dates, cotton, olives, figs fruits and corn are commonly found in oases. In some places full cities reside in them with hotels.
The underground water sources are called “aquifers”. Sometimes a manmade well is dug to tap the aquifer and will provide more water for the city. In many settlements, the wells have been flowing and maintained for generations and centuries.
Oases became important stops along trade routes through many countries of the world. Some of the most beautiful ones are in Egypt, Israel, Brazil, Niger, China, Peru, Libya and Tunisia. Even the United States cities of Las Vegas, Phoenix and Palm Springs could be considered outgrowths of Westward expansion and merchants traveling along the oasis route. (The oasis outside of Palm Springs is still there, I took my son once.)
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I am gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”Matthew 11:28-30 TPT
It is easy to visualize these verses in light of our oasis construct, isn’t it?
Jesus was speaking to weary travelers who were burdened with their loads from life. His offer, come to me, I am your oasis.
This is the only time in scripture where Jesus says, “Come to me”. Often He said, “Come after me”, or “Come follow me”, but only in this context does He say, simply, “Come to me”. The message is clear. He recognizes the fatigue, hard work, and heavy load of the listener. Nothing else is needed at this time, only rest, refreshment and replenishment. Coming to Him, The oasis, will provide just that. It’s that easy, and He knows it.
In Him we find rest. In Him we are refreshed. In Him we are resupplied to carry on. We are free to travel on when we are ready.
Although this is a temporary rest stop, He offers more than a temporary seat, He offers permanent rest for our raging soul.
A permanent supply is promised when we join our life with His. The picture Matthew gives us is one of taking on a yoke, and stepping into the yoke with Him. Living in the place of being teamed up with Jesus in all we do. Learning His ways and listening to his direction as we walk together in the yoke.
The work is not the only focus, it is the union with Jesus.
United with Him we learn and begin to understand that He is gentle and easy to please. He doesn’t get all worked up or stressed out. He doesn’t freak out. He is peaceful, kind and humble. Yoked together with Him, we learn these traits too. Our thoughts and feelings begin to change as we learn His ways.
When we lean on our own understanding, it hurts, we feel the rub. We are aware He is not leading or leaning that way. We lean His way and find it easy.
It is from this union with Jesus that we find a permanent rest for our soul, not just a refreshing drink. A fountain flowing from deep underground, a spiritual aquifer for all time and every generation. The best thirst quencher and big gulp ever. Imagine having a spiritual aquifer attached to your big gulp cup, anytime you need refreshing. (minus the calories and sugar even)
This is the route you’ve chosen, mile after mile of hot, dry desert sand carrying a heavy load bundled on your back or beast. Water and provisions are low, strength is vanishing, and RELIEF IS IN SIGHT. I see The oasis!
Stop. Unload your burden. Rest. Drink deeply from The oasis.
Realign your yoke as needed. For some, you need to step into it and team up with Jesus. Join forces with the Maker of the Universe. What a deal!
A temporary resting spot or permanent rest and refreshing is yours, because Jesus said, “I am your oasis.”
Go with God.