Like three giddy girls, we begin our day of exploring Arizona’s Sabino Canyon. We long to hike beside the stream that hopefully still holds water from winter snow and heavy rains. Unlike most years, this spring the desert is ablaze with flowers–blue lupines, desert marigolds, purple-pink penstemon. I hold a map of the canyon’s hiking trails and attempt to lead our trio on an unforgettable hike.
Two steps and one of us stops to snap a picture. We pause and gaze at the mountains blanketed in yellow flowers and tall green saguaros. Our hearts and lips are filled with praise for God. A few more steps, a few more pictures.
We pass fellow hikers returning from their early morning trek. Eagerly, we ask about the stream–is there water. They confirm the stream is bubbling full and tell us to turn left at the next “paved road.” I glance at my map. Something seems amiss but we follow their direction.
Carried on by our enthusiasm, we press upwards bounded by colorful hillsides. The desert sun prickles our skin. We sip water from the bottles we carry but are still thirsty for the flowing water that drew us here. So we continue to climb.
A sign is the first definitive clue we are on the wrong path. We gather around our map and one friend discovers a trail that will lead us to the desired creek hike.
Narrower and shadier, we sidestep down the rocky parts of the trail. Cooled by the desert trees and bushes, our enthusiasm returns. Wonder and pictures pop up again.
Our foot steps now lead us on a level path. Suddenly, we stop as we here a gurgling in the distance. Hushed, we pause, listening to the sound our eyes long to see. Our steps quicken as the excitement builds. Only a few more feet and the trail reveals our first glimpse of the stream.
I want to dash ahead with abandonment like a child. Yet, it is only the beginning. Further down the trail the water splashes over boulders. It hurries along to the stream’s edge that overflows into blissful falls.
We perch on rocks surrounding the stream and unwrap our lunch. Our thirst has been quenched.
How has your thirst been quenched by the One who gives living water?
“I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble,…” Jeremiah 31:9 NIV