Many years ago, there were TV commercials introducing instant coffee, instant tea, instant gravy, and instant soups. “Just add water!” was the tagline. It was such a wonderous thing to have immediate access to foods and beverages that used to take 30 minutes to hours to prepare.
On our recent trip to Israel, I was struck by a similar wonder. Our bus was traveling through the Jezreel Valley to and from the Sea of Galilee and along the Jordan River. What had been swampland in the first part of the 1900’s had been reclaimed at the price of numerous lives lost to malaria for the sake of agriculture. Currently, the reclamation is so complete that without rain, the soil appears dry, and grows thorns, weeds and scrubs. Yet, cultivated, planted, and irrigated, it is now growing bountiful crops of fruits and vegetables. It turns out that the soil is a volcanic mixture very fertile for plant life. It simply needs water to release the richness.
Luke records Jesus’ parable of the seed that produces a crop 30, 60, or 100 times what was sown. The seed is the Word of God, and the soil is the human heart. Casual observation of human behavior, including that of Christ-followers, reveals there is often not much growing in the heart apart from the thorns of worry, doubts, and fears. Interestingly, Jesus tells us those are the very things that choke the seed, His Word. We mistakenly believe the ground is just too dry, or the soil too poor to grow anything else. It is one of life’s conundrums: we need the life-giving promises of the Word to manage the thorns, but life-sapping issues persist, so that we can’t seem to have one for the other.
The brilliance of our Heavenly Father foresaw this dilemma, and made provision. In carrying out the Father’s instruction, Jesus spoke to His disciples. “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:7, 13)
Jesus is describing the Holy Spirit, the very same referenced by Isaiah in 44:3. “For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants.” Every lawncare enthusiast knows that the best defense against weeds is a strong, thick stock of grass. The necessity to water it cannot be denied or underestimated. Our hearts are dry ground without the watering of Holy Spirit.
God created our hearts to be His dwelling, therefore fertility is present, even if appearing dormant. Once the cultivation is done to remove rocks and weeds, all that is needed is to add water. “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) Imagine the crop awaiting you and me … just add “WATER”!