And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage.
One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”
She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs. Joshua 15:16-19
I have a special fondness for young couples starting out together; so this little bit of history in the book of Joshua is kind of irresistible to me. Othniel went on to be the first judge of the judges of Israel. But at this point, he and Acsah (name your daughter that!) are just setting up their own household. They seem to have been a visionary, ambitious pair. That is what I think, at least, when I envision Acsah and Othniel going back to Caleb’s house to get a better deal on her inheritance. All she had was desert and no water — but she had irrigation plans! It appears that she was pushing Othniel, “Go ask my dad for more!” But as soon as they got there, she jumped off her donkey and asked herself! Caleb undoubtedly knew he had a special daughter; he may have seen “that look” in her eye as soon as she rode up and immediately asked, “What?”
She got her water.
You may think it is too much to make a lot out of these little snippets of the Bible. That’s OK. But see if this moment doesn’t make a good prayer for you, anyway. Here is how it works.
We go to our Father and he sees us just as we are. He says, “What can I do for you?”
We say, “Do me a favor, since you know I’ve been given desert. I need springs of water. Give me also springs of water.”
He gives them.
It is something like that. Try praying it. Should I say, “Get off your ass and ask?” Probably not.
But we need to ask because we have some desert! Should we just take what we appear to have been given and make the most of the desert? I’m talking about the spiritual desert — not feeling it personally, no faith, hope, joy, love, just a gnawing sense of need. I’m talking about the relational desert – the friendship circle or marriage feels dry, makes me want to try a new city or a new mate. I’m talking about the political desert – Philly has lots of water but it has lots of trouble: too much violence, too little money in its coffers, too much injustice and corruption.
Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 7:37-8
Being one woman, going to her father for what she needs and ending up with living water flowing from her in the middle of desert places – that seems to me like the best result of all. Taking her husband with her and irrigating as much territory as she can touch seems to be a life worth living. Acsah couldn’t help but ask. Do you do that anymore?
Maybe you think coming to Jesus and asking for living water is entirely too easy. Snippety. You are into much more complicated things. That’s OK. I have nothing for you. I think I get tinier all the time — just a child going to my Father in the place I know to find him and trusting him to give me what he has for me.