The weather is hot, hot, hot outside. We’ve been living in drought conditions for weeks. My yard is brown, and I’m missing out on my favorite pastime of summer: hours on my lawn tractor listening to audiobooks and podcasts.
As it happens, Keri and my oldest son, Peter, chose this summer to plant and grow a garden with the hopes of Peter having his own little “Pete’s Pumpkin Patch” business this fall. Here’s our unique challenge: our garden is nearly 500 feet away from our water spigot! We spent the money and managed to link enough sections of hose together in order to reach all the way down to our garden to water it on these hot and dry days. Unfortunately, by the time the water travels all that distance through all that hose, it has lost most of its pressure. The sprinkler doesn’t sprinkle so much as it dribbles.
I’ve been thinking about the life of faith and the role of the church in light of Psalm 1 which says we also need to stay “watered” by God so we don’t wither in the heat of life’s hardships and discipleship drought. Listen to God’s Word:
“Oh, the joys of those who…delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”
Some of us are trying to grow our faith gardens too far away from the Source of Living Water. We keep moving further away from the spigot of the church and other life-giving spiritual rhythms. The water of God’s replenishing power is becoming more and more of a trickle and than the River of God. The past 18 months of Covid also pushed many of us further from the Living Waters flowing from the ministry and fellowship of the church.
This summer I am inviting each of us to take responsibility for our own spiritual health, to notice how dry our leaves may be getting, to measure how far or near we are from our Source, and to renew our commitment to planting ourselves next to the stream God in our faith journey and life rhythms.
There are many ways to plant ourselves by the riverbank. For instance, we are inviting our church to:
- Plant ourselves in the rich soil of the spiritual rhythms of daily prayer, God-walks, yoga, Scripture, etc.
- Plant ourselves in healthy Jesus-shaped commentary and perspectives on current events by checking out the recommended content curated for you at MainStreet.
- Plant ourselves in Jesus’ words and actions by attending “Luke By the Lake” on Wednesdays.
- Put down deeper roots by attending two upcoming Soul Care Seminars with Dr. Keith Meyer on July 21 and August 18.
- Plant ourselves in a rhythm of worship, communion, and fellowship Sunday nights at 5pm.
To wither or flourish? That is the question. The Psalmist says it will depend in large part on where we fix our minds, and plant our souls, day and night. What is taking up the space in your mind most of the day? Where is your heart anchored? Where are you planted? Or do you find yourself rootless at the moment, like dry tumbleweed being carried along by the winds of circumstances?
The story of the woman at the well in John 4 reminds us that Jesus came to help us put away all the hoses and buckets, and to open up inside each of us a spring of Living Water. My favorite (often overlooked) detail of that story is the statement: “Then the woman left her water pot and went away into the city” (John 4:28). Having met Christ, she left her bucket behind. No more long walks each day back and forth from her Source to sustain her daily life in “the city.” No more extension hoses, trying to get the Water of Life to stretch far from the spigot. Her Source now abides in her. God’s Life wells up within her.
The good news of the Gospel is that we don’t need to go searching for wells or spigots. So may we put down roots into the Deep Ocean that is God’s Presence-Always-With-Us. May we be like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season, leaves never withering, and prospering in all we do.
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters.” Isaiah 55:1