We’re back! After a vacation that began with a flight to San Francisco, California, extended as far out as the Grand Canyon in Arizona and covered 11 days, 3 states, 6 National Parks, and 2505 road miles, we are finally home. It was a wonderful whirlwind self-guided tour that often took us down the ‘road less traveled’ and through some of the most unusual parks and places in the southwestern part of the United States.
I guess the most fascinating thing about the many miles that we covered was how different the landscape is from where we live in Atlanta, Georgia. The summer in the southeast is hazy, hot and humid, but for the most part, even on its most sweltering days, the terrain remains lush and green. Trees, flowers, and grass cover most everything. But where we traveled out west, it was dry, often barren and even desolate in many places (at least at this time of year). While in some places low golden-colored grasses spread across the mountain tops, a large percentage of the hills (and valleys) were stark and desolate.
Still, we did encounter areas (especially in California) that in their natural condition were harsh and fairly lifeless which had been transformed into productive farmland. Trees full of fruits, nuts and olives, vineyards, and a seemingly endless rows of vegetables flourished in the once bleak landscape.
One place we drove through was particularly noteworthy. A vast almond orchard that covered many miles and stretched as far as we could see thrived directly across the highway from a wasteland that was little more than a desert. The atmosphere, temperature and conditions were exactly the same… the only difference was …. water. One side had a sophisticated irrigation system, the other side did not. Which meant that one stretch of land thrived while the other laid unproductive and mostly bare.
Psalm 1 paints a vivid picture of this exact phenomenon occurring in the lives of people in all times and across the world. The writer poetically describes the productive and fruitful overflow that occurs in the lives of those who dwell deeply on the truths of scripture. As they “delight in the law of the Lord” and “meditate” on it regularly (vs 3), their lives yield abundant spiritual fruit, remaining vital even in times of drought. In contrast, those who reject God and His Word ultimately end up like dead crops that wither and blow away (vs 4).
These verses reveal that two people can come from similar backgrounds and have comparable experiences, yet the yield from their lives is very different. The productivity from one life is bleak and barren, while the other produces a bounty of everlasting fruit for the kingdom of God. The difference is not really the conditions… it’s the presence of life giving water.
So, if you are a believer and the landscape of your life looks more like a wasteland than a fertile crescent, let me remind you that refreshment is always available. Tap into the life-giving water of the Scripture and very soon, God will do as He promised and “make rivers flow on barren heights” and “turn the desert into pools of water the parched ground into springs.” The overflow from His abundance will not only nourish you, but also help revive others so that they will “understand that the hand of the Lord has done this.” (Is 41:18-20)
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said,
‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”