There’s been no rain here in weeks. Our yard is brown and straw-yellow and the blades of grass crunch under your shoes and stab your bare feet. The tomatoes and azaleas are vivid green only because I water them daily.
I started with the rain barrel. Every morning I dipped the bucket in and tipped it and let the water pour in and fill. I pulled up water that had sat for days and days. It was dark and murky. Stale. Stagnant. Full of stink.
But it was water. It was wet. So, every day I pushed the bucket down and watched it fill. Then I leaned to one side and carried the bucket and poured the earthy-smelling liquid on my pampered tomatoes. The rain barrel’s level has been depleted bucketful by bucketful. My arm is no longer long enough to reach down and retrieve it.
This week I have gone out every morning before the heat of the day and resorted to using the water hose. I turn the nozzle to shower, attempting to imitate real rain, and water my gems. Standing in my bare feet I spray until the ground is saturated. Until it is dark and moist. The stalks straighten and the leaves revive. I come back the next morning and the ground is pale and dry and the plants are deflated. I spray again.
The plants have survived because of the rain barrel. They have continued to grow and put forth fruit because of the water from the hose. But it is rain from the heavens, coming down from above, that will make them explode in vibrancy of color and heaviness of foliage and fruit.
They are waiting for rain. A release and refreshment from the heat. They need a clean, clear drink of water that permeates and saturates the hard crust of ground that surrounds them.
Isn’t that where we find ourselves sometimes? In the middle of a season of intense heat? Planted in hard, dry ground? We are in the midst of change, pain, worry, frustration, fear, fatigue and confusion. We are right in the middle of it all and we know that going backward will be just same as going forward, so we trudge onward.
But we are thirsty. So thirsty. Depleted. Dehydrated.
We know the water from the rain barrel is water. It is wet.
But we long for a drink. Just a cold, cold drink of water.
This week there is someone in your life who needs a cold drink of water. This is not a maybe. Not a perhaps. No, there is someone. And they need someone, us, to come to them and offer a cold metal dipperful or a cool pottery cup of fresh clean water.
They may even need us to hold it to their mouths for them.
They have been drawing from the cistern. They have been dipping their buckets, but perhaps, their arm is too short to reach the dregs of water in the bottom. And dregs are gritty in your mouth. Really, they leave you thirstier than before.
These precious people need a kind word, a warm hug, a gentle nudge, a simple prayer, a squeezed hand, a quick wink, a chosen verse or a short note.
They need a drink of water. They don’t need more cistern water. They need a drink from the spring of living water.
It’s hot out there.
They're waiting for the rain.
Go give a cold cup of water in His name.