“For Waters Shall Break Forth in the Wilderness”

from Isaiah 35

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, do not fear!

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
… it shall be for God’s people;
no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with these verses from the prophet Isaiah, then join in the conversation with your own poetic response.

You can enter into conversation with this text by adding your haiku response below.

About Margaret D. McGee


  1. Inspired by Isaiah 35, the following is a linked-verse poem written by participants of “The Spirit in the Heart of the Moment,” a series of haiku workshops offered at St. Andrews Episcopal Parish in Seattle, Washington during Advent, 2010.

    I love the way these verses travel across such a wide spectrum of human experience and feeling — from longing to joy, from the mucky yuck of the swamp to blossoms finding their way, from thirst to flowing waters.

    “So why not splash and sing?”

    I’m thirsty
    please help me
    the highway is so long
                              — Rose, The Gold Coast, Australia

    Cold blows winter’s wind
    out on the highway tonight
    only a fool’s fool
                              — Mike, Seattle

    Even the foolish
    can’t get lost, so why
    not splash & sing?
                              — Beth, Seattle

    The breeze rustles the leaves
    my heart is filled with gladness
    I sing out with joy
                              — Donna, Seattle

    In cooling tannic waters
    green grows lush the swamp
    glad, the gator glides
                              — Doug, Seattle

    In the mucky yuck
    colorful petals sneak up
    shy lil swamp blossom
                              — Anna Lee, Seattle

    Till and nurture soil
    wait for the soft rain to fall
    blossoms find a way
                              — Pat, Seattle

    Along your own way,
    you saw a blossoming tree—
    all foliage, no fruit!
                              — Leon, Seattle

    blossoms bright and clear
    blow across my path and road…
    miss them—fool I am
                              — Evelyn, Seattle

    Led to water, I
    refused to drink—highway
    wide enough for fools
                              — Cherry, Seattle

    I was thirsty
    and the water
    came flooding in
                              — Margaret, Port Townsend

  2. Brad Offutt says:

    EVERY traveler is
    a fool

    • Ah – the human condition! To me, remembering that we’re all fools at one time or another feels like a sure path to forgiveness, of self & others. Thanks, Brad.

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Yes, Margaret, that’s it! And also, on that road, nobody can go so astray as to end up in the wrong place. What reassurance!

  3. Janet Stanwyck says:

    Oh my feeble knees,
    you have given to me life.
    My weakness is strength.

    • Janet Stanwyck says:

      I realized rereading that I made it personal, my knees etc. When I read the passage the words feeble knees seemed very personal.

      • Oh I agree that ‘feeble knees’ are very personal, especially when I have to bend them! When I first read your poem, my eyes saw “Oh” as “On.” I like “Oh” very much, and also like seeing “On my feeble knees” in my mind’s eye. Thank you, Janet!

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Janet, it’s the personal connection that made me really like your words. You caused me to smile and nod my head in shared understanding. And I thought you would say, “You gave me strength.” What a delightful twist to say “life” instead. This put my own “feeble knees” in a new context.

  4. Brad Offutt says:

    This desert road ends
    in an oasis bringing
    Joy’s blooms again


  1. […] offered through The Center at St. Andrew’s. To read the poem, go to the Lectio+Haiku post “For Waters Shall Break Forth in the Wilderness” and scroll down to the bottom of the stream of […]