Ein Gedi, Israel
Four years ago, Melanie and I had the opportunity to travel to Israel with my family. What struck me most about the landscape was the feeling of the desert constantly pushing in, clawing for more territory. But in places where there was water, life flourished. This can be seen in the picture of Ein Gedi, an oasis bordered by endless desert on one side, and the Dead Sea on the other. It is a perfect picture of our dependence on God. It’s no wonder why Jesus promised “living water” to the woman at the well. This would have been a potent metaphor to those so dependent on water for life.
James 5:1-12 contrasts two groups of people, the landowners and the farmers. He reminds us that wealth will fade away and will eventually be our undoing. James gives us an alternative to the endless pursuit of wealth and satisfying our desires:
“Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient.”
My mom grew up on a farm with her three siblings just outside of Tofield, AB. She was the only one of her siblings to move away from the farm and into the city. Growing up, this gave me a passing familiarity of what happened on the farm without the experience of actually depending on the land and weather conditions. Just this past weekend, we had a reunion with this side of the family and I was reminded of how family gatherings during the summer months have a feeling of patient waiting. Without the conditions for a valuable harvest, their work would be futile. Although, my relationship with the harvest is more distant than some of my relatives, I am learning that I am no less dependent on the conditions that God creates.
A few weeks ago, Cheryl spoke of the danger of planning. I confess that I am a recovering planner. In time, I become thankful when my plans don’t work because this teaches me about my inability to dictate all the circumstance of my life. I’m learning that instead of needing to become more dependent on God, it is about recognizing that I am already completely reliant on Him. Dependence is not something that I choose, but rather how I’m created.