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.
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;
“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:
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