The Oasis - October 14, 2020
Author: Pastor Dan Hollis
October 14, 2020
October 14, 2020
by Pastor Dan
It has been a dry season. Yesterday’s rain was a balm to the cracked skin of our lands, but days like that have been a bit of a rarity lately. In fact, the lack of rain the last couple of months made yesterday’s weather seem all the more dramatic, even though, under normal circumstances, New Englanders are no strangers to deluges that can go on so long they start to feel like Noah’s forty days.
We needed that rain. Our lawns, our gardens, our crops, our livestock, our wells and water tables and streams all needed that rain. A thirsty world crying out to be quenched, not just for the relief it brings, but for the work that all that water does within the earth, flora, and fauna, and for all the ways it benefits us.
But what did we do to earn that healing rain yesterday? For that matter, what did we do to deserve such a long dry season?
We can ask those questions all we want, but personally, I don’t think we’re going to get an answer. Certainly not an answer that will be of any use to us. Now, in this case I’m not talking about global climate change (not today anyway); sometimes, dry seasons just happen, and there’s nothing we can do to earn the rain that we so desperately need.
In this case, at least, I think there’s a much better question we should be asking, and it doesn’t have to do with actual water. It has to do with God’s living water: the transformative blessings of love and wisdom that rain down from God upon us all.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11
Just like the rain that comes from the sky on its own time—not according to our will—we can’t earn living water either. Living water isn’t a transaction where we do A and we get B. It’s the opposite. We get B, and it changes us, it helps us grow, and it empowers us to do A and so much more. It’s like the old Protestant argument of faith and works… good works aren’t what we do to gain salvation, good works are the natural response to the salvation we have. It’s counter-intuitive in our economic, test-oriented worldview… but Jesus teaches us that everything aboutthe kindom of God is counter-intuitive.
Whether it is drawn from a well, gathered from a stream, or it rains down from heaven, God’s living water comes to us and feeds our souls. It makes us fertile soil. God’s love, God’s spirit, God’s light enters into our hearts if we open ourselves to it, and it can transform us like water transforms the most cracked, dry land. We choose what crops grow in our soil. We, each one of us, choose what we do in response to the love that God gives us freely.
And so, I have for you two things to hold in dry seasons and monsoon seasons alike: a message of joy, and a question to ponder.
God loves you.
What are you going to do about it?