With Joy Shall Ye Draw Water Out of the Wells of Salvation (2 Nephi 22:2-3)

It’s really easy to like all of 2 Nephi 22 (Compare with Isaiah 12). It’s one of the “Isaiah chapters” in the Book of Mormon that doesn’t talk about war, Assyria, and all other sorts of difficult-to-understand-things. In this chapter, Isaiah praises the Lord, and anyone else who has a testimony in Jesus Christ can certainly relate.

Today, I found verse 3 really striking:

“Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” – 2 Nephi 22:3

I can’t really say why this struck me today, so I’m going to just “think out loud” on this blog post for a minute.

One
Christ is the Living Water. When we associate with Him, when we covenant with Him, and “draw” from Him, then we experience joy.

Two
Maybe it’s also a kind of choice. I mean, obviously we have a choice to “draw” from the wells of salvation or not. We have a choice to covenant with Christ or not.

But are we always “drawing” with joy?

People do make covenants then come to church or go to the temple or any number of things that might be considered “drawing” without joy. They serve without joy. Why?

Perhaps there are times when we draw without joy because we are mourning. I have certainly experienced this. Several years ago, I found myself going through a difficult time. I was getting a divorce. Shortly after telling my ex-husband I wanted a divorce, I went to the temple alone. If you aren’t familiar with Mormon Temples, then you should know that people can attend the temple alone. That isn’t a problem. But often there are people who attend the temple with their spouse.

It stung to go to the temple alone. It was hard to feel the weight of the pain of my life in a place that was usually peaceful. I thought a lot about my ex-husband, he had betrayed me and our marriage covenants. It was really difficult to understand what was happening in my life. Needless to say, when I went to the temple that day, I wasn’t really “drawing” with joy.

I was mourning.

Of course, it’s important to remember what Christ said, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

So – there are times when we don’t draw with joy – and that may be because of some kind of difficulty or adversity in our lives.

I will say that even though I didn’t jump with joy at the temple that first time after my separation from my ex-husband, by the end of my service at the temple, I was filled with a sort of peace. I was being comforted. I knew I needed to take all of my covenants with the Lord seriously, and that I needed to continue to “draw” from the well of salvation. And over time, I did draw – with less mourning and more joy.

***
Sometimes we may be “drawing” from the waters of salvation without joy – and not because we are experiencing adversity, sorrow, or mourning. Perhaps we may be going through the motions.

This is kind of a problem.

We must make the choice to worship and draw in a meaningful and joyful way. We don’t go to the temple because our leaders have told us to. We don’t serve God so that we can check off a box or pat ourselves on the back. The covenants of the Lord aren’t arbitrary commands given by a power-hungry God.

The covenants and commandments of God are given to us so that we can be happy – so we can be agents, so we can be free from sorrow and sin. They are given to us by a loving God – a Father in Heaven.

If we are “drawing” from the well of salvation only because it is an expectation, or because our neighbors do it, or to placate someone else. If we’re simply going through the motions, instead of drawing with joy, then we lose out. We don’t experience the joy of salvation because we’re not acting in joy in the first place. If this is happening, either we need to repent or we simply don’t understand what God is offering us in the first place.

***

It’s a joy to say that Jehovah is my strength and my song. I trust in Him. And I have drawn and will continue to draw – with joy! – from the waters of salvation.

A Place of Refuge (2 Nephi 14:5-6)

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite scriptures.

“And the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory of Zion shall be a defence.

And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and a covert from storm and from rain.” – 2 Nephi 14:5-6

The Lord offers us safety and peace. Joy, really. He will guide and protect us. I mean, what a blessing and comfort – just knowing this about the Lord.

Guidance

The Lord will be a “cloud of smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night.” This is how he guided the children of Israel through the wilderness.

The Lord will not leave us alone. He will not leave us to wander. He will guide us. Granted, there are times when we are guided through the wilderness. And yes, He wants us to take initiative. But we can also be assured that the Lord will be with us always.

This brings so much comfort to my soul. And ultimately joy. I know that I don’t have to worry so much, but just put my faith in Him. Though there isn’t a physical cloud or pillar of fire in my life, I have been blessed with tender mercies that often act in the same way.

Comfort

I especially love the phrase, “for a shadow in the daytime form the heat.” I used to live in Arizona – the Phoenix area. I’m not sure if you’ve ever visited AZ, but it’s a desert. I mean, it is hot

Desert Life

Desert Life

This picture was taken when it wasn’t even hot outside. But still, you can see the sun. Oh, the relentless sun in the desert. Arizona has 330 days of sun every year. (I actually think that it might be more like 355…!) 😉 I loved living there, but it is exhausting.

During the summer, the heat is scorching, and it doesn’t really let up.

When you live in a place like AZ, and then you read that the Lord will create a dwelling place – “for a shadow in the daytime from heat” – well this phrase is really comforting. It really speaks to you!

Protection and Peace

In this passage, the Lord also promises, “a place of refuge, a covert from storm and rain.”

This is also really easy to relate to. Just think of any storm. A snowstorm. A rainstorm. A tornado! And the Lord will be our refuge, a covert to protect us from the raging storm.

While this is easy to relate to, maybe we underestimate this blessing. I mean, if you’re reading this on your own personal computer or smartphone, chances are you have a home, a roof over your head. And chances are you don’t have to rough it during a hailstorm outside. Most likely you don’t have to search for cover. In fact, I can’t really say that I’ve felt the sting of a hard rain on my skin in some time.

But we don’t have to battle during physical storms only. There are many other storms we face in this day, and the Lord will protect us from the spiritual and emotional storms of our lives just as much as He will protect us physically.

Comfort (2 Nephi 8:3)

Today, I read a really hopeful and comforting scripture.

“For the Lord shall comfort Zion, he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” – 2 Nephi 8:3

I’m reading the Book of Mormon with an emphasis on joy. And so often we are told that joy and happiness comes with keeping the commandments, covenanting with God, etc.

Yet, we still experience sadness, misery, and pain. No one, not even the righteous, are exempt from illness, injustices, betrayal, and other unfortunate experiences.

It can be tempting to get into “instant-gratification mode” and think that we should have comfortable easy lives if we are keeping the covenants we have made with God.

The truth is, Zion – those who are righteous covenant keepers – will go through difficulty and pain. However, the Lord will comfort her.

We will experience our own waste places, deserts, and rough patches in life.

And though the Lord may not transform these difficult experiences immediately, He will make them like Eden.

I like thinking about this very literally, too. I lived in Arizona. The Desert. Then I moved to Hawai’i. Paradise. What a stark difference!

If we remain faithful, the Lord promises to consecrate our afflictions. We will find joy. Thanksgiving. We will sing a song of praise.

And while we still must live through a vail of tears and difficulty, we can let this hope comfort us now. We can rejoice and give thanks now. We can live with a happy song in our hearts now – because we have the hope of Christ.

Peace as a River (1 Nephi 20:18)

When we hearken to the commandments of God, we are filled with peace and righteousness. This sounds like a joyful situation to me.

Nephi quotes Isaiah:

“O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments—then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” – 1 Nephi 20:18

I like that. Peace as a river. Righteousness as the waves of the sea.

River
I recently went to a river and waterfall in the mountains. This has been a wet year, and it was rushing with water. The sound of it nearly demands peace. I mean, of course I snapped a few pictures, but for the most part I was transfixed by the sound of the running water.

It was peaceful.

I stood there, watching the water. It is such a miracle. It started in the mountains. No, it started in the sky, then fell to the earth onto mountain tops. These streams and rivers carried the water down the mountains and into lakes and eventually seas. All along the way, these little streams nourish and sustain all life. The wildflowers, the trees, the birds, the frogs. and let’s not forget – you and me.

Peace as a river.

Waves of the Sea
I’ve been blessed to be able to live by the sea. And the waves. That’s the best part, isn’t it?

I didn’t grow up by the ocean. I’ve been loads of times, but I hadn’t ever lived by the ocean until last year. One night, my husband and I were walking along the beach in the evening. It was dark. No one was out. We saw a seal. People were inside or at restaurants. Long gone were kids making sandcastles, people surfing, or soaking the sun.

For a split second, I thought, “the day is over, but the ocean is still going.” haha! Yes. The waves are still going. They will for as long as there is an earth. Every minute of every day. Sometimes the waves may be small, gentle, lapping waves. Other times, especially in places like Oahu’s North Shore, the waves may be 30′ tall displaying unfathomable power.

Either way, they never stop.

***
When we hearken and obey the commandments of God, we can have peace like a river. Our righteousness can become steady like the waves of the sea.

I’m not always the best at doing all I need to do, but this scripture brings me hope, peace, and motivation to continue to Hearken.