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John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
Have you ever listened closely when watering plants? If so, did you hear the music of the soil drinking in the water? The bubbling notes and distinctive pauses between the notes as the water moved into the soil (infiltration) and then down through the soil (percolation). Water filling in of the air spaces in the before-barren soil pores – replacing empty with life. The absorbing of water molecules to soil particles and the adsorbing of water to soil aggregates – both are life-giving actions for the plants and animals, microscopic and not, in the soil. The expanding of clay minerals to receive the water into their crystalline structures along with those molecules stuck to their outer surfaces – water for now and for later for the plants. And onwards, the process continues down into the soil as the water overcomes the dry and dusty particles thirsty and waiting to hold that which they were made to receive and in turn, to give to plants and microbes.
As a soil scientist, I love the music the soil makes every time I water my plants. If I’m not in a hurry, I water slowly and listen closely. A way to make the music linger longer and sink deeper into my mind as a way to appreciate its beauty and thus, nurture the soil of my soul.
Let’s take a minute to think about such kinds of music – the swallow swallow (breathe) swallow swallow of a hungry baby nursing from her mama. The gulp gulp gulp (drip drip and smile) gulp gulp gulp of a thirsty toddler with his sippy cup firmly clenched between chubby hands. The deep deep drinks (with contented sighs) of a depleted man in the desert who’s just found a small pond. All needed life-giving nourishment as help, hope, and life for the now and the not-yet. All gave music back in gratitude for quenched thirst and now full tummies.
These thoughts prompt the following questions in me – does God hear music ring out like that from the soil of my soul when I receive and believe His life-giving truth from Scripture? And then, if so, does the music resonate and swell in waves of grace when I share these truths with others? On that note (pun intended!), could these songs rise in harmony as a symphony of praise to display the Goodness of the One Who is the Living Water?
Scripture tells me something similar to this idea of music and satisfied souls in 1 Thessalonians 1:8 The message about the Lord rang out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia but in every place. The news about your faithfulness to God has spread so that we don’t even need to mention it.
The music of faithful lives played out in faithful love was powerful then and is now. Such music pushes back on the clamor of lives full of things trying to drain life rather than give it. Such music is unmistakable and unstoppable. Songs from well-watered souls are distinctive in their cadence of a calm courage found only in deep drinks from Life Himself. And in turn, lives like these drip hope onto others’ souls like an overly full watering can being carried from the sink to the windowsill.
All of these songs, be they from babies, toddlers, soil, or souls, are tangible expressions of gratitude for the gift of a thirst quenched. The thirst, the emptiness remains there until it is satisfied in filling. My longing for the more is there deep in my soul until my God replaces it with the Life found in listening only to Christ. Only He can and will do what I cannot.
Because when my soul takes in His truth given in His love, grace doesn’t just replace the empty. Grace transforms the dry and dusty into receptacles of hope for me to receive and then to give out. To be watered allows me to water others with that Life I’ve received.
My small song of receiving can swell into a symphony of giving that flows from one life into another like water moving into and through dry soil – a distinctive music that can’t be duplicated or imitated, only received and returned to the Giver of good gifts. God is the One Who started the song at creation and sustains it here in the now and onwards into the not-yet. And nothing or no one can keep His music from ringing out from the soil of my soul to the soil under my feet and upward to the stars!
Dear friends, may your lives be full of watering music today and every day onwards to eternity! There’s no end to the Life Jesus has and wants to give us to water our souls in His lavish love for all of us.
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Stay tuned for Good Ground, Volume 2 coming Fall 2022, also from Northeastern Baptist Press! (and for something else new also coming soon from Northeastern Baptist Press…)
Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2022.