Water makes the difference
In our valley, August is the time of second or third hay crops, trees laden with fruit, green lawns and plentiful gardens … if water is being applied. Water makes all the difference: in its absence, lawns become crunchy, trees wither, crops shrivel.
You don’t have to travel far to the east before you see the effects of constant aridity: even sagebrush becomes stunted, barely able to grow.
God often uses word pictures to communicate important truths in the Bible. The prophet Jeremiah compares a dry bush in the desert with a tree growing on a riverbank to show how important a relationship with the living God truly is. Each of us was made for a relationship with God: there’s a void in our lives without Him. If we depend on ourselves alone, on our own goodness, wisdom, and strength, we become like that bush on the edge of a salt flat:
“This is what the Lord says:
‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.’”-Jeremiah 17:5-6
We were never meant to go it alone without God, yet at some point we have all chosen to handle life without Him. God uses those desert experiences to remind us of our desperate need of Him. We get thirsty in our souls, and only God can satisfy that dryness. We all need love, significance and purpose; we need forgiveness and a new start. We find the wellspring for these in God alone, whom Jeremiah describes as “the Lord, the spring of living water.” (Jeremiah 17:13) Trusting your life to God is as simple and significant as drinking water when you’re thirsty. Jesus Christ once declared, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37-38) We fetch a cool drink when we realize we’re thirsty. We ask Jesus for His forgiveness and new life when we realize He has done everything to make us right with God through His atoning death for us. The contrast between that desert bush and the tree by the river illustrates the change Jesus brings about in us when we trust Him:
“‘But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.’” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
Of course followers of Jesus still experience trouble. But they are tapped into the Source of life, and He sustains us through our trials. God bears His fruit in our lives, even in the midst of adversity.
Are you thirsty? Come to Jesus today and drink.
Pastor Don Baumann of Hilltop Community Church is a member of the Carson Valley Minister’s Association.