Living Water in a Time of Drought (Ros' Blog)
Driving around my locality recently I’ve noticed an unusual phenomenon. In the middle of July some of the trees are looking really autumnal, with leaves crinkling yellow and falling to the ground, while others are as green and fresh as you would expect at this stage of the summer. In some places it’s the smaller trees such as silver birches that are wilting, in others it’s the large and well established ones such as the really towering oaks and chestnuts. In some places it’s noticeably those with thinner trunks which seem to be suffering the effects of drought, but then in other places the effect is reversed. A neat row of slim poplars near where I live are looking as rich and green as they should be, while some really tall, thick, overgrown leylandii, while not shedding leaves, are drooping and looking withered.
You might think this has to do with their proximity to water. Surely those near rivers, lakes and streams will be well-hydrated, while those adjoining housing and roads will be more prone to dry up. However, this does not seem to be the case. I have seen side by side a flourishing tree and a tree that is dried, yellowed and shedding its leaves. There can only be one explanation and that must be that some trees have put down roots far enough to find the water that is stored deep underground, while others have not.
I’m reminded that Jesus introduced Himself to the Samaritan woman as the source of Living Water. He said that He would be a well of water springing up to eternal life within those who turn to Him as their source. Sometimes when the harsh droughts of life threaten to wither the life out of us, we need to reach down deep into that water source. What kind of harsh droughts am I thinking of? It would be too facile to say disability. My many disabled friends and family live rich and fulfilling lives. The searing heat comes not from within us – our physical or cognitive condition – but from the additional burdens placed on us by the unthinking, uncaring system in which we find ourselves.
I had to take my daughter to hospital yesterday – something she is well used to, and takes in her stride these days. She is autistic, very happily so, and enjoys her life until some thoughtless treatment causes her distress. Yesterday it was a doctor who, noting her extreme needle phobia, negotiated with her very gently, with my help, to get her consent for a blood test – and then disappeared for 45 minutes before doing the blood test, quite long enough for her to work herself into a frenzy of overwhelming anxiety about the procedure. Simply making her enough of a priority to deal with her blood test immediately would have saved her from the trauma of a meltdown – and me from being inadvertently punched in the head and stomach during the course of it!
It was very striking that on the drive home from the hospital she was asking me to turn off the radio and sing worship songs. She understood the need to reorientate herself to the One who can bring peace to her heart. She is like those trees whose roots go deep enough to find the water source. As it says in Psalm 1 (NIRV), of the person who is focused on God and His way of living, “That kind of person is like a tree that is planted near a stream of water. It always bears its fruit at the right time. Its leaves don’t dry up. Everything godly people do turns out well.”