One of my cherished things we did as a family growing up in Lebanon was to go on picnics. My parents weren’t into spending money on movies or going out to eat, but they sure could entertain with scrumptuous picnic food and picturesque rest stops.
Daddy loved to drive up and down the Lebanon mountain ranges discovering hidden archaeological ruins in obscure villages. We usually ended up listening to his impromptu lectures about some civilization or other because he never let any educational opportunity pass us by. We would roll our eyes, endure the “talks,” and count the minutes till we could dive into mom’s for real treasures in the picnic basket! Here’s free tourist advise; check out Lebanon online and see for yourself all the stunning vistas perfect for such outings. You just might end up booking your next exotic vacation!
One of these choice sanctuary jewels in Lebanon is Ain Zahalta, a village at the foot of the Giant Cedar Tree Grove. Nestled in the middle of pine forests, it is perched on the edge of terraced orchards of apples, peaches, olives, figs, quince, plums, grapes, apricots, almonds, pomegranates, and persimmons. Meandering through these groves and terraces is Naba el Safa (Pure Spring) on its way to the Damur River. The stream flows through man-made aqueducts crisscrossing the center of the quaint village, highlighting ideal rest stops along its path for weary travelers.
Our favorite spot along this harnessed stream was a sprawling flagstoned terrace canopied by a grape arbor that shaded several picnic tables. At its far corner, the patio housed a small kiosk selling bottled orange soda drinks that we purchased and nestled into the running frigid stream to chill for later refreshment. We would tumble out of our station wagon, head straight for the brrrr oh so cold stream, plunge our hands in, and compete as to who could endure the ice water the longest. I can still hear the squeals of laughter as we delighted over our blue tinged cold, cold fingers!
Have you ever dipped your cupped hands into an ice-cold stream and drunk its crisp purity? It quenches and satisfies like no other water can. Refuge for the weary travelers in life is what chapter 46 in Psalms is all about: shelter, respite, sanctuary, and a reprieve from the hectic, frenetic circumstances inherent in this world.
How can we even begin to have peace in this existence where the craziness of our world is no longer a news flash removed from our homes, but instead is a noxious, poisonous gas that creeps under our locked front doors. A semblance of respite from this contamination is attainable by drinking the “streams that gladden the heart” and by “being still and learning that He is God.” Routinely taking in this stream of pure sustenance does not guarantee immunity, but does strengthen our souls to withstand the bewildering, painfull epidemics sure to come our way.
When was the last time you drank from God’s pure stream?
There is a river whose streams gladden the heart.