And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan, and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.'
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
The pace of St Mark's Gospels moves like an express train from its beginning. Within the first twenty verses we hear of the Good News for the world, of John's work in proclaiming a repentance of sins, of the baptism of Jesus, and then the calling of his disciples. But hidden in here we see that the Spirit 'drives' Jesus out into the desert where he is tempted.
I remember staying in a hotel in southern Israel and getting up at the crack of dawn to look at the sunrise. A hundred yards from the hotel the houses stopped and there was the Judean wilderness. As far as the eye could see were mountainous crags with no vegetation. As the sun rose the heat was instantly horrendous. Surely no human being could live in such a place?
Of course there are Wadis where water flows, and we can only assume that Jesus knew, as did his cousin John before him, where to find such a place in this inhospitable land. His need was for solitude to spend time with His Heavenly Father. The question was how should he proceed with his ministry? Would he be a warrior Messiah, or would he be the suffering servant?
It is no different today. We need to find solitude to be with God, to understand his plans for us.
teach us how to find the space
in a busy day for You:
to wait on You in silence;
to ask for Your help with problems;
and to plan for the future.
You might like to look up this site about the deserts in Israel:
or some ideas on being quiet with God - it's written for women, but has some helpful thoughts for everyone: