Hi Camilla, yes, the wilderness or desert has often been used, as St John the Baptist used it, and as Jesus did when he went into the desert for 40 days - to recall the people of Israel in their exodus from Egypt, leaving behind its sophistication and good food. By leaving all that was merely of this world aside, they were preparing to meet the God revealing himself as I AM to Moses. Commenting on Psalm 64:2, St Augustine meditates on the deep Christian meaning of any such exodus: "He begins to leave who begins to love. For many are leaving unawares, for the feet of those leaving are affections of the heart: and yet, they are leaving Babylon."
Jesus, chapter 6 of St John's Gospel, miraculously fed the huge crowd - if not in the desert, at least far removed from where they normally lived. Just after that, he revealed to us the meaning of the Eucharist as the new manna feeding us as we crossed through the desert every day of our lives - which we pray for in the Our Father when we say, 'give us this day our supersubstantial [not all that well normally translated as 'daily' and according to Brant Pitrie in his wonderful Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, clearly referring to the Eucharist] bread.' So there's always that double meaning of leaving all that's in the way of our meeting God, in order to find Him. Pope Benedict, in the homily opening his pontificate on April 24, 2005, referred to the inner deserts of modern society which we must find a way to lead people from towards God:
And there are so many kinds of desert. There is the desert of poverty, the desert of hunger and thirst, the desert of abandonment, of loneliness, of destroyed love. There is the desert of God's darkness, the emptiness of souls no longer aware of their dignity or the goal of human life. The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast...The Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance.
Very best, Fr Brendan