Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, O well, sing ye unto it!” Numbers 21:17
This was a strange song and a strange well. They had been traveling over the desert’s barren sands, no water was in sight and they were famishing with thirst. Then God spake to Moses and said:
“Gather the people together, and I will give them water,” and this is how it came.
They gathered in circles on the sands. They took their staves and dug deep down into the burning earth and as they dug, they sang,
“Spring up, O well, sing ye unto it,” and lo, there came a gurgling sound, a rush of water and a flowing stream which filled the well and ran along the ground.
When they dug this well in the desert, they touched the stream that was running beneath, and reached the flowing tides that had long been out of sight.
How beautiful the picture given, telling us of the river of blessing that flows all through our lives, and we have only to reach by faith and praise to find our wants supplied in the most barren desert.
How did they reach the waters of this well? It was by praise. They sang upon the sand their song of faith, while with their staff of promise they dug the well.
Our praise will still open fountains in the desert, when murmuring will only bring us judgment, and even prayer may fail to reach the fountains of blessing.
There is nothing that pleases the Lord so much as praise. There is no test of faith so true as the grace of thanksgiving. Are you praising God enough? Are you thanking Him for your actual blessings that are more than can be numbered, and are you daring to praise Him even for those trials which are but blessings in disguise? Have you learned to praise Him in advance for the things that have not yet come? (Streams in the Desert)
This passage brings to mind an unforgettable image of the “singing wells” of the Samburu people in a remote area of northern Kenya. Sarara means meeting place in Samburu and at the singing wells all the different families from the area come to meet and share stories, as well as to water their livestock. Inside the hand-dug wells dotting the landscape, a young Samburu man in each balances on a rock ledge hewn into the interior mud walls, and bends down to scoop water with a container from the well. Then he passes it upwards to the next warrior on a higher ledge who pours it into a wooden trough on the lip of the well, where the cattle come to drink. During extremely dry seasons, there can be as many as seven men in each well, passing the water from the depths of the water table up and up and up some more. All the while, they repeatedly sing their own family song, summoning their cattle to their well.
Praise honors God, and transforms me. As I openly ascribe glory to the Almighty, I cease being the center of the universe, and shift focus to the One True Center. Selflessness liberates and overt adulation is the conduit of spiritual freedom. I add my own voice to the music of the earth and all creatures contained on it, summoning others to join in the chorus. Release your heart to sing, and discover deep reserves from which to worship the Lord.