Water is one of those things you don’t think about until you don’t have enough of it, or on the rare occasions when you have too much. Then it jumps up and screams at you and gets your attention.
I’ve thought about it every time I’ve had to water my little garden boxes and potted plants through this hot, dry summer. I thought about it when a friend showed me the garden he’s usually so proud of, and kept apologizing that it looked so stricken.
I thought about it when I saw that receding waters in a lake near bone-dry Nachadoches, Texas revealed a sizable tank from the Space Shuttle Columbia, which went down near there in 2003.
I thought about it when I ran across a study in which researchers from St. Andrews University in Scotland examined sediments in a lake bad upstream from the Nile River, showing how a massive drought in Ethiopia cut off the water supply to Egypt and brought about the end of the Old Kingdom between 2200 and 2150 B.C.
And of course, I think about it with every news report I hear and every image I see from this year’s devastating drought in Somalia. Food aid is desperately needed and many donors are ready to give, but leaders of the unfeeling al-Shabab organization, who control the area through a reign of terror, turn back most aid workers, accusing them of being spies and sacrificing countless lives because of their own fear of losing power.
Scientists tell us that our bodies are about 60 percent water by weight. Our experience tells us that we can’t survive very long without water. It’s no wonder that some of Israel’s foundational stories relate to God providing water in a thirsty land (Exodus 17, Numbers 20), or that prophets found the metaphor of water so powerful (Isa. 49:10, 55:1; Jer. 2:13; Zech. 14:8), or that Jesus spoke of himself as the living water come from God (John 4:10).
Our thirst can be spiritual as well as physical, and neither should be ignored.
[Image from the Huffington Post]
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.