As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it an oasis;
the early rain also covers it with pools. Psalm 84:6
The audaciousness of the picture painted in this text is extraordinary. The Psalmist speaks of the people of God as pilgrims (as does most of the bible) passing through “the Valley of Baca” or, as in other translations, “the valley of weeping”. It is an arid place where no water exists and therefore no life. But a radical thought occurs to this pilgrim folk as they pass through: “there ought to be water here.”
Who does that? Who walks through a dessert and thinks that? This was not a desperate, selfish desire for drink. This was a realisation that something is as it ought not to be. This was a conviction that something must change.
That’s when the audacious, the utterly ridiculous occurred. In the middle of the desert in which sadness has reigned, these pilgrims of God bend down to their knees, roll up their sleeves and start digging. A singular idea consumes them: there ought to be water here. So they dig down deep until water comes up.
And water comes up indeed! Springs of life-giving water arise where once there were only fountains of tears. The landscape and destiny of the desert place is changed. Then clouds begin to form in the distance and to descend upon them. These pilgrims have turned a piece of desert into an oasis. Now heaven responds in pleasure to the work of their hands, covering it with even greater pools of water. They did what they thought ought to be done. Heaven responded by multiplying their work and raining down blessing.
True to their name, the pilgrims do not stay long by this new oasis. They journey on because “(their) soul longs, yes faints for the courts of the Lord; (their) heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God”. (Psalm 84:2) At the end of their journey is the One for whom they long. For that reason, they must keep moving forward.
Oase was planted as a church of pilgrims who look upon the spiritual landscape of Bergen and see a village of sorrow, though that sorrow might be hidden beneath the veneer of pleasure, art and wealth. The people of Oase are oasis-makers. They are audacious enough to believe that God can use them to bring life and renewal to the world around them in the name of Jesus. They believe that the Holy Spirit has empowered and sent them to do exactly that. In faith, they expect the early rain of God’s blessing to fall upon their endeavours for His fame and glory. And no matter what, they keep moving forward because they are just passing through this life on their way to the place where God is.
I believe this vision of Oase can be best summarized by saying that we exist to make an oasis of life and renewal in Jesus’ name, in the village of Bergen and everywhere else we are sent.