The hike had taken longer than I had expected on a clear June morning in northern New Mexico. Across a flat plain covered in shrub brush and sand, a clear fifty miles from anyone. The canyon was out here but scanning the horizon revealed what appeared to be only mile after mile of the same terrain. Had the instructions been wrong or had we made a wrong turn somewhere on those miles of dirt track? Another half hour and then - there it was. A crevice opened up rimmed by sturdy ancient rocks and a small path downward into a narrow canyon. The walls covered by wind twisted pines and at the base a small cluster of old buildings. Walking across the canyon floor and the mini ghost town was amazing, a surprise from another time, and something that caused voices to lower as if fearful of disturbing the long gown residents. Fluttering calendars with decades old dates. Remnants of curtains clung tenaciously to paint peeled windows. Across the open ground covered ankle high with wildflowers, slanted wooden crosses drew our attention. A small graveyard, names no longer readable on weathered headstones made us pause in respectful honor. Heads bowed, listening to the desert wind whispering down the canyon walls, the rumble of small bees dancing through the flowers, and a faint sound of water falling and dripping. Looking around we discovered a small, almost minuscule, flow of water down the rock face of the canyon into an old shallow well. Fresh, clear, and so refreshing the water flowed in the middle of a desert. Just enough to cool a face and refresh the body. Like the canyon itself, the water was a surprise springing up where least expected. Climbing out of the canyon after our day of exploration, we stood for a moment as the wind whipped by us in its hurried journey. It was five miles back to the vehicle, across a desert floor in the late afternoon heat. Yet in our canteens we carried fresh cool, clear water found by surprise in a desert canyon. We could make it.
Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you be unaware? I will make a clear path in the wilderness, Rivers shall flow in the desert