A stepwell is a well in which you get water, not by pulling up a bucket but by walking down some stairs. It is most common in India, where water has always been a precious commodity.

Between the 11th and 16th centuries, stepwells were built in India to ensure accessibility to water even during the driest seasons. Sometimes walking down the steps was strenuous and inconvenient, especially in India’s hot climate and during the droughts.

Even though it’s never been easy or convenient to gather water from an Indian stepwell, during the dry seasons, it is the very best source of this life-giving liquid. All you have to do is walk down the steps.

In the dry times, the difficult times, we feel parched — like there is nothing left inside. And yet in each of us God has provided a stepwell in which rests wonderful, life-giving water. We have to step into the well in order to draw from it.

This is what David had to do. He had gone through the terrible time of having his men’s wives and his own wives kidnapped. Understandably, the men lashed out against their leader. They wanted to kill him. David cried out to God. He wept until he had no more tears.

All of us have had times when we’ve wept like this. Perhaps you lost a loved one or a spouse recently. It could be that you have lost your job; while in the beginning you had confidence that you would soon find one, months have gone by without any real leads. One woman I know lives daily with the agonizing truth that her husband is slowly slipping away due to Alzheimer’s Disease. These are times when it takes going into the deepest part of God’s stepwell to obtain even the smallest bit of comfort. Perhaps today you are weeping. Try to remember that you are not alone.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder