When The Well Runs Dry


What do you do when the well runs dry?

Back in the day—long before my day—if your well ran dry, you were in trouble. Your survival was threatened. While most of us are blessed to have indoor plumbing that pipes in fresh water from the city’s supply, that wasn’t always the case. Even though we’re not pumping water from a well and toting it back to the house, we all know what happens when we haven’t had enough to drink or when the lawn doesn’t get enough water. It only takes a day or two before what was once healthy and vital becomes arid, dry and shriveled.

The physical presence or absence of water is not a problem for most of us. But, a dry well is an all-too-appropriate metaphor for the all-too-common seasons of life. 

Think about it: marriage can become stale and predictable. Parenting can often be unrewarding. A job can become routine. Friendships can lose their freshness. Hopes and dreams can lose a little of their luster. Life happens. And, oftentimes, this can leave us feeling more than a little bit dry.

What can you do when the well runs dry?

I remember a conversation from years ago when a friend of mine told me that you have three choices when the well runs dry:

1. You can wait.

You can choose to sit around, scanning the horizon for signs of a rainstorm big enough to restore your well. You could wait for your marriage to improve, for your kids to appreciate you, for your boss to recognize your worth, for your friends to come around, or for your dreams to find you. But, when you’re thirsty, you realize that waiting can be deadly.

2. You can dig a new well.

Have you ever dug a well? Probably not. A post hole? Maybe. If so, you know that it’s back-breaking work. It is tempting to believe that the better option is to leave the old, dry well behind and begin anew. You could find a new spouse. New kids. (Maybe not.) New friends. A new job. New hopes and dreams. In fact, this is the approach most people take. But those who have dug new wells would tell you that it’s not worth the work and that new wells also run dry. So, is there a better option?

3. You can dig deeper.

There is fresh water at the bottom of the well from which you’ve always drawn. It may be only a few inches or a few feet deeper. But, it’s there. When dry seasons come, don’t wait for circumstances to change. Don’t waste your time and effort digging a new well. Dig deeper!

What does it look like to dig deeper when the well runs dry?

You dig deeper by relying more fully on God, seeking him in times of silence, Bible study and prayer. You dig deeper by taking an honest appraisal of your thoughts, fears, habits, perceptions, and misconceptions. You dig deeper by gathering closely with the people you love and reinvesting in them. You dig deeper by listening closely to a trusted group of peers who see you for who you are and who are willing to speak truth into your life.

When the well runs dry—whether that well is a relationship, career, dream, aspiration, or otherwise—dig deeper by trusting in God and taking one step at a time as he leads.

Is your well running dry? What would it look like for you to dig deeper?

3 thoughts on “When The Well Runs Dry

  1. Buy a journal and start writing out the Psalms. Many look forwards to say and forget the prayer book of the Bible! Dig it?

  2. I love this post. My youngest daughter has been grieving the death of her dad (4/10/13) and taking care of her granny (fell and broke a hip 6 weeks ago) and step-mom (has COPD), and she works full time. She’s in California and all her family is in Indpls. Her faith is getting her through but her well is pretty dry about now. I know this will be an encouragement to her. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thank you for this post Kevin. It has made me that I take my well for granted sometimes. I need to continually be in thanks and communication with He who provisions the water.

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