The Valley of Baca

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee;
in whose heart are the ways of them.
Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well;
the rain also filleth the pools.

Psalm 84:5,6

We are in this world "strangers and pilgrims". A stranger is away from home, but a pilgrim is on the way home. It is on this journey to our heavenly home we will come across the Valley of Baca or as it is also known, Valley of Weeping. The exact location of this valley is unknown. But what is known about it is that it appears to be a dry place. The sun burning above made the valley arid and dry. This Psalm was penned by David in exile as he watched the Israelites make their way to worship at Jerusalem. Three times a year they would make this pilgrimage.

I went through my own valley not so long ago which brought the words of Psalm 84 vividly alive to me. It was a place I was brought where I could turn to no one else but the Lord. It is a very lonely place yet also very precious. Many treasures are found in this valley if one only lifts his/her eyes to heaven and in doing so is brought to lift one's head and look around. It is a place of deep intimacy between you and the Lord and you draw ever closer to Him. It is then you thank God for your times of trouble, for this valley of weeping. How precious is your communion with the Lord at this time. Only you MUST draw near to Him and bring all before Him:

casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.1 Peter 5:7

You must turn to Him in this hour of trouble and cast your cares upon Him and:

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.James 4:8

In so doing we are digging a well in this dry and arid valley just as others before us. Here is a wonderful quote by J.C.Philpot who gave a fantastic sermon on the valley of Baca;

“Make it a well;” that is, there are from time to time sweet refreshments in this valley of tears; there are bubblings up of divine consolation; there are fountains of living waters, streams of heavenly pleasures. And when the sun-burnt, weary pilgrims, all parched and dry, are journeying through this valley, and their tongues cleave to the roof of their mouths with thirst, the Lord from time to time opens up in this valley a well; as we read, Isaiah 41:17-18,When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue fails for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and dry land springs of water.”

“Some manifestation of His gracious presence, some promise coming with power to the soul, some testimony of saving interest in the love and blood of Jesus, some smile from His countenance, some word from His lips, some encouraging testimony that the feet are upon the rock, is given. This is a well at which his thirst is slaked; his parched tongue no longer cleaves to his palate; he drinks of the water that bubbles up from the thirsty soil to refresh the weary pilgrim.”

C.H. Spurgeon also wrote about this valley. It is a result of his going through the valley of weeping. No one who has not traveled the valley of weeping can tell of this place no more than can anyone tell of a far country in which they have never been to! But for those who have travelled through this place, perhaps many times, have left wells dug, way-marks if you will for the next pilgrim to find.

The Psalm also speaks of pools which the rain fills. How amazing that the wells were not the only resource! But notice how it is the rain that fills them. We can dig the pool but it must be filled from heaven. These pools can be "the means of grace, the ordinances of the Lord's house, and those various helps that the Lord Himself has appointed; but which are themselves as desolate and dry as the pool or tank, and need the rain of heaven to fill them".

How often I have been refreshed by these pools. Prayer was an opportunity to get back into the presence of God and enjoy sweet communion with Him while the storm raged. Reading His Word and claiming His promises found in them revived me. Listening to the word being preached encouraged me. But how often have I come to a pool and found it dry! Again Philpot actually remarks on this very well:

“I find them so [dry], you find them so, who know the difference between the letter and the Spirit, between “bodily exercise which profits little,” and the power of vital godliness that is profitable unto all things. The Lord will teach his people this; and He will teach it his ministers also. They may construct a pool-in their parlours at home they may build a very pretty tank; it may be divided and sub-divided; a cell here, and a compartment there. And they may come with their pools to chapel. But unless the rain fills it from above, all their ingenuity will be thrown away.”

This valley is a painful experience and one we must never think is only travelled through once. But when we do find ourselves in this valley again be comforted and encouraged. There is much to refresh the soul here if we would only dig and seek it. Communion with Christ is all the more intimate in this place and therefore a place to be cherished. We can also leave our own way-marks for others and be comforted to know that others have been here by their way-marks left.
All my springs are in thee. Psalm 87:7


Yvonne Blake said…
I am always blessed when I visit your place. I have someone for YOU at my blog.
Although these verses refer to Israel's idolatry, it is a picture of how God personally showers us with mercy when we are in those valleys. He cares for us more than we can even understand.

Taken from the Amplified Bible:

Hosea 2:14-15 says, "Therefore, behold, I will allure her [Israel] and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart.

There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor [troubling] to be for her a door of hope and expectation. And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth and as at the time when she came up out of the land of Egypt..."
Geraldine said…

It's funny you mention that verse as it was quoted to me by a friend when I shared with her while I was going through that difficult time, The valley of weeping. Thanks for sharing that :-)


Abdallah Muslim said…

I saw your explanation about valley of Bacca as a painful experience, actually it's so wrong and big mistake to explain it like that, it's totally the inverse way, you discharge all your load, stress and pressure there, YES you will cry just the moment your feet touch its ground, but the happiness after visiting it is incredible..

please check the correct explanation on the following:


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