Yesterday I awoke to the sound of rain on my roof. I snuggled under the blankets and listened to the sweet sound before getting out of bed and entering the cold, dark morning. Rain. So welcome for my parched garden. Even more welcome for firefighters working a 4,000 acre blaze 100 miles to the south. Our last rain was nearly a month ago and was a paltry 0.12 inch. Of course, I live in semi-arid Colorado, so every bit of moisture is precious.
Normally by fall I taper off on watering, knowing that my perennials and shrubs will be going dormant soon. But weeks of above average temperatures and hot dry winds have sucked the moisture out of everything. I continued watering because I didn’t want my plants to start the winter at a deficit, desiccated and vulnerable.
I felt the moisture deficit myself on the recent hot windy days. I would come home from a walk and drink a big glass of water and put hand lotion on my dry hands.
Rain, such a soothing sounds, at least here in Colorado, where we rarely get flooding. (As I write this, Haiti has suffered through a hurricane with too much rain, and the storm is now headed for Florida where it will likely cause flooding. Those people don’t want more rain!)
Slow, gentle rain – such a clear metaphor for spiritual sustenance as well.
Just as my garden needed a soaking rain, so my soul needs regular refreshment.
Where does this refreshment, this rain for my soul, come from?
Psalm 1 describes the person who is blessed as one who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on God’s law day and night:
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)
While I know that my soul needs refreshment, and regular “watering” – I have to honestly say that I don’t always delight in God’s Word, or in keeping his Word at the forefront of my thinking. A few weeks ago I realized I was coasting in terms of reading the Bible – relying on my years of past study. But the truth is, my soul still needs refreshment. I need the stream of water to keep running by my roots – to keep quenching my thirst.
I decided to try something practical for soul watering last week. I read a Psalm while I ate breakfast, and then I left my Bible open on the table, so that when I came back for lunch, I could read it again. Just a simple thing, but leaving the Bible open at the table made me more likely to read it while I ate, rather than reading the business news or a magazine. So I could draw refreshment from God’s Word. Since I was home alone last week, practically speaking, this kind of refreshment worked well for my meal times.
In my garden, most of my plants are adapted to the Colorado climate and can get by on minimal moisture, but they all do better with more moisture. As far as my soul, I don’t really know what the lower limit of “water” is for refreshment, but I do know that I do better with regular refreshment. And why would I want to test out the lower limit? That isn’t delighting in God’s Word, that is a miserly diet of scarcity, not the abundance God longs to provide.
Yesterday’s water will help my garden this week, but it will soon dry out again, if we don’t get more rain (or snow!). Same with my soul … it truly needs regular watering, and such refreshment is readily available, but sometimes I neglect to give myself a drink.