Lenten Reflection 2012: Retreating into the wilderness with Jesus, Day 11

Day 11, Monday, March 5, 2012

During Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness, though the Bible doesn’t clearly state, it’s believed that He fasted from food, but must have drank water during this period. According to the gospel of Matthew, chapter 4:2-3: “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’” Jesus could endure His long fast from food because He depended upon the grace and strength of God. God the Father was the source of His inner spiritual as well as physical strength. Indeed, the main purpose of fasting is to teach us complete dependence on God than on our own material power and resources. Just as the main purpose of wilderness experience in the Bible was to bring the people of God to a point where they could look beyond themselves and their own resources, and fixed their eyes upon God—the eternal source of power that will never run out. That’s why, God was distressed with the Israelites when, after settling down in the Promised Land, they built their own unsecured cisterns (gods and shrines) and forgot the eternal Cistern—Yahweh—as the source of their infinite power. It is clear in the words of the Prophet Jeremiah:

“Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord,

for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me,

the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves,

broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:12-13).

If you find yourselves in the wilderness today, try fasting with prayer. Fasting in the wilderness, that is, in the time of your sufferings, troubles, pains, loneliness, abandonment, rejection, misunderstandings, etc., will help you assess your life and your dependence on your leaking resources. What are the cisterns in your life that you trust? Are they dripping? Do you feel the need to draw from the Cistern that is infinite and will never be depleted? If so, let us determine to depend upon God alone and He’ll help us in the rest of our journey and lead us victoriously out of it. I’m reminded of a story I read a while ago. Once, a boy and his father were walking along a road when they came across a large stone. The boy said to his father, “Do you think if I use all my strength, I can move this rock?” His father answered, “If you use all your strength, I am sure you can do it.” The boy began to push the rock. Exerting himself as much as he could, he pushed and pushed. The rock did not move. Discouraged, he said to his father, “You were wrong, I can’t do it.” The father placed his arm around the boy’s shoulder and said, “No, son, you didn’t use all your strength—you didn’t ask me to help.” Amen. 


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