Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rain, Rain, don’t go away!

It’s raining today in Amman—tiny, crystalline, life-giving droplets.  
In one of the most water-poor countries of the world, rain is not something to be looked down upon or appreciated lightly.  Because water is scarce, every household in Jordan is provided a weekly allotment of water.  If you run out before refill day, you’re done, so conservation is essential!  My selfish, grown-and-raised-in-the-land-of-plenty self—I hate to admit—gets sorely annoyed at this imposition…but my responsible, wanting-to-care-for-God’s-earth self thinks it’s invaluable to learn frugal consumption of our resources, especially such a necessary one. 
The water tanks at ACOR
I never realized how heavily we rely upon water until forced to think about being without it.  And so, in a land with limited water sources, every droplet of rain counts.  Rain feeds the plants and crops, which feed the livestock, which feed us.  Rain fills the cisterns and wadis, which fill the lakes and dams, which fill our household water tanks.  It’s a good day, when it rains.

So, not surprisingly, I think about water a lot—how important it is and how we couldn’t live without it, literally and figuratively.  Below, in list form, are some of my reflections on water:

  • It Sustains our Physical Lives.  Human life, animal life, plant life—we all need it to survive.  Without it we shrivel, wilt, choke, and die.  Even most food recipes I can think of use water in some fashion and quantity.  Water also has powerful revival qualities, and quickly restores to life a fading being.   
  • It is a Cleanser and Purifier.  We use it to wash our bodies, our clothes, our dishes, and just about everything else in domestic life.  We use it to flush the toilet, rinse our spit, and wash messes off the floor.  We also use it to cleanse a wound, dilute the effects of poisons, and flush our bodies of toxins. 
  • It has Calming and Healing Properties.  Water is used in humidifiers to “heal” the blistering dry air in wintertime.  It is used by midwives to calm a laboring mother and baby.  It cools a burn. It makes our skin glow and radiate.  It possibly prevents cancer, heart disease, and other diseases (see this link).  Also see this link for other interesting facts about water.
  • It Provides Relief and Recreation.  What is more refreshing on a hot day than to plunge into a pool of cool water? The best summer activities involve water.
  • It has Preservation Properties.  We use it to can our vegetables, and other things.
  • It Reveals things Buried.  Any seasoned treasure hunter can tell you that the best time to go searching for those Native American arrow heads or Roman coins or ancient pottery is directly after the rain.  The water washes away the buildup of dust and dirt and reveals the hidden treasures beneath. 
  • It is Reflective.  With the right lighting, water can serve as a mirror, reflecting back whatever faces it.  
  • It is Impartial.  It benefits all with the life it imbues with no stipulations of worthiness.  
It's little wonder, then, that Jesus used the analogy of water to relate Himself to us.  He sustains our spiritual lives; without Him we shrivel, wilt, choke, and die.  He cleanses and purifies us.  He calms and heals us.  He makes our spirits glow and radiate.  He refreshes us, and preserves us.  He sifts through our surface dust and dirt to reveal the hidden treasures within.  He is a reflecting mirror in whom our shortcomings become clear, but His perfection reflects back to cover us.  And His grace impartially benefits all, with no stipulations of worthiness; all we must do is ask.  

It rained inside today, too.  And I thought, these kinds of raindrops are also invaluable.  They bring with them the character staples of humility and repentance; they flush out the toxins of bad feelings and bring hope to try again.  Tears clean and lubricate our eyes just as they do our hearts.

Those are my thoughts on rain.

1 comment:

  1. Living here also makes it clear why Jesus talks about living water so much. You just have to look at the stale, stagnant water in a cistern to understand the importance of living/running water. Like the running water required in miqvaot for cleansing oneself or the fresh water of a spring.