Turning Your Desert into a Spring

Have you ever hit a dry place in your walk with Christ? Maybe you’ve had some awesome moments of worship in the past, some spurts of spiritual growth, a few mountaintop highs . . . but you’ve reached a low point where it seems your prayers aren’t hitting the ceiling. Or maybe you’re too low to even voice a prayer.

Maybe you’re in the Valley of Baca. 

Psalm 84 refers to the Valley of Baca. Baca can be translated as “weeping” and it was an arid, desert place on the way to Jerusalem (the place of peace). This is one of my favorite Psalms. Portions of it have been put to music and every time I read this chapter, the tune runs through my head and the content of the Psalm leads me to a sweet place of worship.

Psalm 84 was actually used as a praise song for those making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship in the temple. My ESV study Bible footnote says:

The purpose of singing this Psalm is to cultivate that delight, to open the eyes and hearts of God’s people to the staggering privilege of being a welcome guest in God’s own house and to write deep into their souls the conviction that wickedness offers no reward that can even remotely compare to the joy and pleasure of God’s own house.

I love how Scripture often (VERY often) combines poetical, symbolic language with literal narrative. We can find principles to apply to our lives now in the symbolic metaphors and there are lessons we can learn from the literal historic events.

Refreshed in the Desert

As God’s people made pilgrimages to the temple in Jerusalem, they went through an arid region known as the Valley of Baca. But they made it a place of springs. They refreshed themselves—even in the desert.


I believe the key to finding refreshment in the Valley of Baca is found in the second verse of the Psalm:

“My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”

I’ve traveled through that desert region many times. Sometimes I’ve been stuck there for weeks. There is no more miserable place for a believer than to be wanting to hear from God, wanting to sense His presence, but feel lifeless and abandoned.

We may feel abandoned—but He never leaves or forsakes His own. We may feel lifeless, but He’s not a liar, and He doesn’t take back what He gives.

Sing for Joy to the Living God

You may be longing, even fainting, to be in His presence, to sense Him working . . . but you’re seeing nothing.

Take to heart this instruction: Sing for joy to the living God. 

Move beyond what you feel, what you sense, beyond the parched desert, and make a spring of refreshment by literally singing praise to the living God.

You may not be a singer. It doesn’t matter. Crank up the car stereo, or plug in your ipod, lift up a sound of praise to God. Something supernatural happens when we’re in the hard places of despair and we sing to Him. I can’t explain it, but it’s a literal turning of my heart, a surge of joy occurs when I start singing out notes of true worship to Him.

My heart and soul are refreshed and I’m ready to plunge back into the journey. I’m strengthened to tackle what lies ahead, and so were the pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem: 

“They go from strength to strength” (v. 7). 

Are you needing some strength today? Needing some refreshment?

How about pausing now to sing your favorite worship song back to Him?


  • Debbie S

    I just wanted you to know that as a result of reading this blog post yesterday I turned to Psalm 84 and studied it myself.

    It has been my goal for a number of years to write hymns. I’m pretty much a novice at song writing but had written my own songs way back in my college years that I would perform at church.

    Now as I potentially face an unknown future (cancer) I have revived my resolve to at least work on lyrics set to old (copyright free) hymns. Yesterday the Lord enabled me to write lyrics based on Psalm 84.

    Thank you for your part in the inspiration for me to accomplish this. May the Lord continue to bless you as you inspire women to grow in their walk with the Lord.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Oh, Debbie, thanks for letting me hear how God used this post!

    I LOVE when God does things like this. I hope you’ll be able to share your hymn with your church (and I’d love to hear it sometime)! It is so encouraging to see you finding your joy in Christ and the Word as you walk through your cancer journey. I know it inspires other readers here to witness your response to His appointment for you at this season.

    Pausing to pray for you now dear one, may you be refreshed and encouraged in the journey today ~