A Tree by the Water

The rain poured down. The gullies and ditches were soon full and water rushed in torrents. A fallen branch washed along the stream and I watched it go—amazed at the power of flowing water. Lightning flashed in huge bolts that television weathermen love to call “deadly” lightning. There is certainly much drama in a storm!
The heavy rain and hail beat the blossoms from the redbud tree which has cheered us with its pink lemonade salute to spring. Green shows now along its slender branches.  

This morning, below the hill a temporary pond of rain water has a chorus of tree frogs chirping and calling in that rising-falling pattern of cicadas on a hot summer evening. Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons stalk the water in solemn procession. Songbirds are busy at the feeders and carrying twigs and bits of grass to their nesting sites—all but the brown-headed cowbirds who wait until the nests are complete and then lay eggs in those to be tended by diligent birds
The old oak tree that supports the tree house and dangles a rope swing is breaking bud. The goldfinches sit among the yellow green almost invisible for the match. They flit down to feast on dandelions that have suddenly sprouted in yellow patches across the yard.
The oak tree will soon be garbed in emerald and its sturdy limbs will be a shady refuge all summer. No drought has reached this tree. Drought summers have killed younger trees and trees that had not put down roots far enough to reach underground rivers flowing with the wealth of spring rain.
Once, they say, these prairies sported no trees, except along creeks and streams. Settlers had to scout rivers to find trees big enough to build houses. My own house was built by pioneers as the Evening Star School. It was built with the boards split from logs hauled by oxen teams from the banks of the Deep Fork River.
River water grows wonderful trees that put down roots and find all the water they need. Strong to stand against winds and floods, these trees are stable and grounded. Our oak grew along Cane Creek. It drinks now from underground streams that flow to its ever-wandering bed.
God wants me to be like a tree planted near rivers of water. That is living water—the  Word of God. To drink constantly from that deep stream will cause me grow strong and fruitful. He means for me to able to survive long hot summers—even the drought summers. He wants me to stand sure in stormy weather when winds whip my branches and tear at my leaves.

The Lord has provided plenty of water. It soaks the land. It swells the ground with its life giving presence. He calls us to be fruitful trees—like the flourishing olive tree, like the cedars of Lebanon, like a green fir tree, like fig trees, like lofty palm trees—not grass or wildflowers that spring up in the night and are soon wilted and faded, or raked up to be burned in a fire.
I need roots that stretch and reach for the deep water—not dependent on the surface water that dwindles as soon as the clouds pass on and the puddles reflect the sky.

This summer I must find time to rest and sit contemplating the beauty of life. More importantly time to become more deeply rooted in Bible study. Time in the Word is sadly often sadly the one activity we need most, but the one we give lowest priority on our summer schedules. We know the importance of keeping our bodies hydrated, yet will we neglect to afford ourselves the spiritual water we need to make it through dry times and stand valiantly through storms to come? I hope not. I hope not.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper.
Psalms 1:3

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