Mark S. Mitchell

Pastor, Writer, Follower of Jesus

Rivulets of the Soul


Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD.
Each morning I will bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

Psalm 5:3

I have found that there is nothing more important and more difficult in my relationship with Christ than developing a robust prayer life. But as crucial as it is, I have also found that guilt is a substandard motivation for prayer. Recently, I discovered a way of thinking about prayer that helps me want to pray.

I’m slowly working my way through Ben Patterson’s book on praying the Psalms: God’s Prayer Book: The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms. In his comments on Psalm 5, he tells a story about a man named Jack Sanford who looks back fondly on his childhood visits to the old family farmhouse in New Hampshire. There was an old well in the front yard. The water from the well was surprisingly pure and cold. No matter how hot the summer or severe the drought, the well was always a dependable source of refreshment. As Jack grew older, he often thought of that faithful old well, but eventually the farmhouse was modernized with indoor plumbing and hot and cold running water. The old well was no longer needed and sealed shut.

Years later, Jack returned to the farmhouse and found himself longing for the cold, pure water of his youth. So he unsealed the well and lowered a bucket for a taste of the refreshment he once enjoyed. But he was shocked to find that the well had gone bone dry. He wondered what had happened and so he began to ask several of the locals. He finally learned that wells of that sort are fed by hundreds of tiny underground rivulets. As long as water is consistently being drawn from the well, new water will flow in through the rivulets, keeping them open so that more water can flow. But when the water stops flowing, the rivulets get plugged up with mud and the flow stops. It turns out the well dried up not because it was used too much but because it wasn’t used enough.

Ben writes, “Our souls are like that well. If we do not draw regularly and frequently on the living water that Jesus promised would well up in us like a spring, our hearts will close and dry up. The consequence of not drinking deeply of God is to eventually lose the ability to drink at all. Prayerlessness is its own worst punishment, both its disease and cause.”

What a great encouragement this is to persevere in a life of disciplined prayer. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Like King David, I want to keep the water flowing, and perhaps the most important thing to do in accomplishing that is to just keep showing up.

5 thoughts on “Rivulets of the Soul

  1. That was such a good post, Dad. I needed to hear those words today!

  2. YES and amen!

  3. Mark, great move with this blog! May it stirr many to a deeper walk with Christ.
    I enjoyed this post, so covicting! There is a sealed well in my yard, too, dug by the 1st owner of the house and probably unused for at least 25, 30 years. I often wonder what the water used to be like and if there could still be water down there. Now I’ll think about prayer when I think of that shut well. Great illustration! Thank you!

  4. My walk with the Lord is much drier than I want but I realize that after reading your blog it is because I have not been feeding my mind and my soul with His Word and through prayer as I often admit that my day gets in the way and God gets pushed to the side as I know he will be there whenever I call on him. But that is risky. There is a price to pay for all of this — just like not exercising and eating right. My unholy thoughts will take over and the enemy will reside in me and God will no longer be at the forefront of my mind and heart. I will find any way to once again push him aside. I want to be able to turn to Him always in good times and bad times and not push Him aside. I want the desire to be intimate with Him not expecting too much in return.

  5. Perhaps we just have to remember and value the incredible love the Lord has for us through the Cross that we will just want to draw more from His Word and experience Him as often as we can.

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