We have 30 plump tomatoes on the table on our deck ripening up in the late summer sun. Inside there at about 50 more awaiting their transformation into hot salsa using our friend Maria’s recipe–the kind of salsa that gets the taste buds laughing, then screaming as the endorphin rush kicks in. And mixed with sour cream, it beats anything out there.
That being said, it seems incongruous to post a piece about drought, as we have not experienced one here this summer. If we had, we wouldn’t have a table full of tomatoes. And the terrible flooding in Pakistan makes this post seem almost like a sacrilege. But here goes.
I am thinking specifically about spiritual drought. When we lived in Atlanta and I spent my Saturdays working in our yard, the six or eight hours in 30-degree heat and high humidity would just about do me in. I consider myself a fairly energetic person and enjoy robust health, but that kind of heat is really tough on me. I could drink over four litres of water and never have to go into the house all day–except for more water!
Experts tell us that when we feel the sensation of thirst, our bodies are already suffering from dehydration and it is imperative that we re-hydrate immediately. I’ll never forget the story my archaeology prof told about a trip he took in Israel during which he drank an entire 1-litre canteen of water right in front of two women who had none of their own. When they exclaimed at his impertinence and greed, he responded, “Listen, ladies—we were all told to bring our own supply of water. You did not do that, so I know I am going to have to carry both of you back to the bus. I need all the water I can get.” Sure enough, he carried them both back to the bus because they had become so dehydrated they were unable to make it on their own steam. I guess they were too dry to produce any steam.
Spiritual drought is different. Whereas physical dehydration produces thirst, spiritual dehydration is caused by a lack of thirst. Psalm 42.1,2 say,
“ As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…” (ESV)
In my own life, the dry spells come when I stop being thirsty. On the physical level, if I’m not thirsty I won’t drink. Sometimes I’ll have a glass of iced tea or a cup of coffee or a Coke just to be sociable, not because I’m thirsty. We can fall into the “social drinking” trap spiritually, too, when we only spend time in the Word when we’re with other believers.
As Christians, we must all do as my professor did—drink until our spirits are distended with truth so we will be able to “carry others along” as well as thrive ourselves in the wasteland that planet earth has become.