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How to Weather Soul Drought

In northern India, the gap between winter snowmelt and springtime glacier melt makes agriculture almost impossible. The paradox? There’s not a shortage of water, but the water isn’t available at the right time. That is, until a local engineer figured out how to freeze water in the winter so it can be used during the dry season: an ice stupa.

Using the power of gravity, farmers route mountain water down through a pipe and up a vertical nozzle. The nozzle is turned on during below-freezing temps, and water mist freezes as it falls. Over time, ice builds up — mounds as high as a 10-story building.

Steep sides reduce sun exposure, which slows melting. So, even in the spring and summer when days warm and natural melting occurs, a stupa can last for months, possibly years. This low-tech solution (that’s become a tourist attraction!) is a way to store hundreds of thousands of gallons of water when it’s not needed and release it for crop irrigation when it is.

Of course, we don’t have to live in India to know the effects of drought …

As we close out a year filled with hardship and sorrow, soul drought weighs heavily on many of us. We’re exhausted, distraught, heartbroken. Thankfully, the Lord provides for us in scorched places.

Four lessons from an ice stupa

  • Reach high and go deep. Don’t look around at the wasteland; look up. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Learn what it means to rest in the Prince of Peace. Focus on prayer, read the Bible, spend time with trusted friends, and get professional help if needed.
  • Limit exposure to depleting influences. Cut back on anything that worsens anxiety, depression, fear, and mental chaos (like social media and newscasts). Instead, remember that God is your refuge and strength, and look for ways to spend time alone with Him.
  • Draw from the reservoir. Boldly take your concerns to God and ask Him to be your provision. He “is a never-failing stream through the most stifling heat. No drought can diminish the fruitfulness of the one who trusts in the Lord, because God himself is an inexhaustible reservoir of soul-satisfying water.”
  • Set up remembrance stones. After God stopped the Jordan river so His people could cross into the Promised Land on dry ground, He told them to set up stones as a sign to remember what He’d had done for them (Joshua 3-4). God knows that we have spiritual amnesia. So intentionally think about moments over this past year when God showed His guidance, answered a prayer, or held you in grief. Meditate on His goodness, whether you create physical reminders or simply hold them in your heart. In the months and years ahead, these remembrance stones will point you to the Source of your hope.

For more thoughts on how to restore your joy and build your faith reserves, listen to “Gaining a New Perspective on Life” and “Hope for Getting Through the Tough Times,” and read Anxious for Nothing.