By Kendall Thow
The battle was over.
She could hear the cheers and shouts as the warriors returned. She could feel the rumble of excitement and power under her feet. She could almost taste the sweet freedom that victory brought by the hands of the Almighty God.
Everywhere the joy, thanksgiving and elation could be seen and everyone felt it. But hers was mixed with nervousness. A good nervousness.
She could hear the chants: “Othniel! Othniel! Othniel!” The name of her betrothed.
As the battle was won she knew that she would become the wife of Othniel. As the excitement over the battle calmed, the preparations for her wedding began.
The day arrived that would take her from her father’s home to her new home. But before leaving, her father gave her her dowry: the land of the Negev. It was a fine piece of fertile land in a prime location but an arid piece of land nonetheless. She wasn’t ungrateful, she just knew she was meant for more.
When she joined her husband’s home she implored him to ask her father for more land that contained springs of water for the Negev. Some may call Aksah covetous and greedy but God made her wise and shrewd. Yet, her husband did not ask.
In her wisdom and courage, she took it upon herself to ask. In a moment of humility, she alighted from her donkey and spoke to her father’s heart. She asked him to bless her with extra land with springs of water to transform the desert into lands of life. Her father looked upon his strong and wise daughter with pride and granted her the blessing she asked for as only a good father knows the best gifts to give. With this blessing the land of the Negev became abundant with life which it could never have done on its own.
– Based on Joshua 15:16-19
The desert is a strange and wonderful place to be. Out of nothingness comes abundant life with the tiniest drop of water. The bulbs and seeds that are rooted so deeply to preserve themselves spring to life. In arid regions like the Negev seeds flower quickly to give off new seeds that can lie dormant for years awaiting the next rainfall. How much are we like these seeds?
So much of our life seems to be in the desert just waiting for the watering that will allow us to flourish.
We wait. We water. We grow. We wither. We wait.
A constant cycle of watering. But the life that comes from the desert after the waiting is so much more spectacular and beautiful and God-breathed.
The water of life can come in so many different forms. It can come as the promises of God. It can come as the kind word of a stranger. It can come as the devotion of a trusted friend.
Sometimes it’s just a sprinkle and sometimes it’s a whole flood. Each watering gives rise to a new variety of growth.
At the risk of carrying the garden theme too far, I will say that in each moment we have an incredible opportunity of pouring into each other’s lives. Each kind word, each effort to see the person in front of us, each act of love brings change to a person in a way that only you can bring. God brings the flood and eternal underlying springs of flourishing but we bring the watering can that transforms days, hours, seconds.
I have so many friends that keep finding themselves trapped in the desert. They have a spell where the desert comes alive and life feels abundant and full. The beauty outshines the dry moments. But then the dryness sets in again. Life overcomes the joy and pain takes the center stage. Instead of feeling full of life, they find themselves lying dormant – weighed down by the weight of the earth around them. They are a seed in need of a flood.
Aksah knew that without the presence of water her land would never produce fruit. But she also knew that out of the desert there would come fruit. She never wished away the land that she was given or the circumstances, she just knew that it could never be everything it was meant to be without something greater.
The world needs physical water to survive…we need water to live. Things can survive in the desert. They adapt to their environment. But, for me, I don’t want to just survive. I want to live and be everything I am meant to be. I want God to bring the floods and I want use that to tend to others who just cannot reach for life themselves.
Recently I was researching how, in a lifetime, we will meet over eighty thousand people. Eighty thousand people with their own deserts just waiting for water. Eighty thousand people that we can bring love to even if it’s just a smile. How amazing! We have the opportunity of helping to shape each one of those people’s lives even in the tiniest of ways.
Our lives are made up of encounters – encounters with God and encounters with others. We can never bring the change that only God can bring but we can certainly be the first sprinkling of water before God brings the whole bucket.
Kendall currently attends City Church West with her family. Her time is spent as a photographer for her business, Simply Green Photography, and as the administrative assistant for Integrate Scotland. She is passionate about spreading love through heartfelt open conversations, cooking and hospitality. She also loves running and spoonfuls of peanut butter.