I’m busy. But despite my busyness there some things I just have to make time for. Watering is one of them. Even before a managed a plant nursery for a few years I had developed a love for a nicely landscaped garden. If you’ve been one of the many visitors to our home you will have noticed that in the eight years we have lived there we have transformed our barren patch of dirt to a nicely landscaped feature native garden with an ornamental feature weeping Silver Birch tree in the middle of a winding pathway which leads to our front door. On the other side of this pathway is my lawn. It is lush green with a minimal number of weeds. But recently I realised that I’d made a big mistake which has a powerful spiritual application.
¶ He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
During what has been one of the hottest Summer’s that we’ve ever had, I have consistently watered this garden and lawn with a sprinkler on a timer system. But this is not our only garden feature. Just off my driveway we have a pond surrounded by my beloved man-ferns. Nearby our pond we have two plantings of Kim’s favourite tree, Japanese Maples (perhaps due to her time as an exchange student in Japan), and a large Rhododendron. This area hasn’t received the attention that my front lawn area has because Tasmania’s world-famous normal rainfall levels have been more than adequate for keeping these plants well watered. But last week I noticed that the grass around my pond area wasn’t very green – in fact, it wasn’t anything, except dead! I then took a closer look at our prized miniature Japanese Maples and I noticed that they had dropped a lot of leaves and some of their small branches had now become dead-wood.
¶ O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Even before today’s water restrictions were enacted, I decided to begin hand-watering this parched area of my garden. But I noticed that the water wasn’t penetrating the ground. Because I had not kept up a consistent daily watering of this area two things happened: (i) plants and grass began to die of thirst, and (ii) the ground supporting these plants and grass had become resistant to the very thing it needed!
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
THE VALUE AND COST OF CONSISTENT WATERING
Quite a few years ago we experienced the financial cost of not watering the grass and plants around our house. We had recently moved to Tasmania from Melbourne and had rented out our house there. We had entrusted our house to the management of a local real estate agent. Unfortunately for us, neither the real estate agent or the tenants gave any attention or care to watering the grass and plants around the house. The cost of this only became apparent to us the day the real estate agent rang us to say that one of our external walls had a major crack in it. The lack of watering had caused the ground to become unstable and undermined the foundations of the house. The cost of neglecting to water regularly was many many thousands of dollars!
that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word
Considering my side-garden in its present state and its now reluctance to absorb the water it so desperately needs, I considered the spiritual parallels. Perhaps some of us too have neglected to regularly water our souls with the water of God’s Word.
“For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd,
and He will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Our souls need watering. We are created to drink in the Living Water that God alone is able to give. Each day our soul craves the gentle showering of God’s refreshing living water. Just like the soil around my small pond, even though we are close to water it does not mean that we are actually being watered. Without regular spiritual watering of our souls the surface of our souls becomes hardened and ironically resistant to living water! It is possible to be a follower of Christ who has become spiritually parched due to a lack of regular watering from God’s Word. The spiritually parched follower of Christ may appear to still have a green tinge, but upon closer examination, they are parched, dried out, and hardened. They have lost their thirst for God and His Living Water, which inevitably leads to a lack of desire to come to the Well (the assembling of their local church). Even when such a parched believer attempt to open their Word and find water for their soul, they are so parched and hardened by the distractions of life that Christ described in Matthew 13 (the cares and pleasures of life, the lusts of the flesh, the distractions of the world) that even this life-giving water which their soul craves cannot initially be absorbed in until they have done what every gardener knows needs doing.
Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the LORD,
that He may come and rain righteousness upon you.
Despite my parched ground’s resistance to my watering with my trigger-nozzled hose, each night after dinner when I had returned from nightly walk with Poppy, I would shower my plants and ground. Night after night I persisted. Even after a week there was still not much to show for my efforts, but I knew that something was happening where it mattered most – beneath the surface. Sometimes when we are spiritually parched and dried-out we have to persist with our watering and keep doing what our soul needs even though it looks like the surface of our souls is showing very little benefit. Just like persistent watering of a parched lawn, the most important transformation and healing is taking place beneath the surface. In this case, the believer who has neglected the Word of God’s Living Water may read a chapter of Scripture and then intellectually wonder what benefit it was while all along their soul is beginning to reawaken.
And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”
Tasmania is currently in the grip of a dangerous drought. I suspect that this is a portend of where many who name the Name as their Saviour are at spiritually. Compromise, neglect, distraction, all lead to a spiritual drought. And as we are seeing now, when such conditions prevail the risk of destruction greatly increases. May we at this dangerous time take care to water our souls with the Living Water of God’s Word and soften the grounds of our hearts so that we bear fruit for our Betrothed. No matter how busy we are, let’s water our souls. See you at the Well this Sunday.
Ps. Andrew Corbett