After an extended period of no rain we went to bed last night to the sound of water filling the near empty rain barrel. We have come through an official drought (no rain for 40 days) which was declared by the Meteorological Office some time ago.
The hosepipe ban and a real endeavour to conserve water brought it home to most of us just how dependant we are on rain.
For the farmer whose land had changed from green to light brown with zero grass growth and cattle, instead of grazing were now simply going for a walk, there was no need emphasise the need for rain.
The Psalmist knew all about this when he desired “rain that falls on a mown field, like showers watering the earth (Chapter 72 verse 6). Over the last few weeks all our grassland has taken on the appearance of a ‘mown field’ with livestock having to be fed with feed normally reserved for use in winter.
Before the land recovers and growth resumes the rain must penetrate the earth’s crust. This has been baked hard and will take many nights’ rain to get to the grass roots.
The Bible shows a close relationship between the land being productive and the peoples’ allegiance. One place where it is evident is in Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple; “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance” (1 Kings Chapter 8 verses 35/6).
The Bible uses rain to illustrate Gods indiscriminate love. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (St Matthew Chapter 5 verses 43 – 48).
The Bible likens the dynamic growth properties in nature to the converting power of God’s word: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah Chapter 55 verses 10 – 11).