How long has it been since you drank from a garden hose? I know it’s a question you didn’t expect to answer this morning, but it is the question needing answered. For most of you it has probably been a while. Your mind is probably trying to race backwards and you are ending up with a huge smile in remembering your childhood summers. Too busy playing to run to the house? Too thirsty to worry about civilized behavior? And honestly, who cared? All of my friends and I, covered in the dirt and sweat of our active play – well, we just needed a drink.
Now I am 52 – Maybe 53 – but that would take some math and distract me for a minute. So let’s just say 52 and move on. The point is that I am old enough to know that drinking from the garden hose is most likely not an acceptable form of polite public hydration. However, even though I have chilled bottles of water in a small refrigerator in the garden shed, and our house is only 50 yards from the garden there are few things more refreshing. And, I am a desperately thirsty gardener.
I love to garden. And, with great truthfulness, I can tell you that I am a real “dirt under the nails” type gardener. I love the images of those Victorian women in their beautifully layered white cotton and linen gowns. How lovely they are in their perfectly manicured rose gardens with lace gloves and basket and simple pruners. Seems a lot like the Garden of Eden. But my gardens would more adequately be compared to the gardens outside of Eden. The garden of Adam and Eve which is described in the old testament after the fall: thorns and thistles and a constant battle with the earth. And my own appearance would greatly follow the same comparison. It is very good that we live in the country where no one comes to visit unannounced.
We have piles of “garden clothes” in our dressers that serve no other purpose. Cut off jeans and shirts whose sleeves have been torn off, sometimes while standing in the garden. At one point I had to make a rule about no more sleeves being torn off because of the growing ratio of shirts in the “garden” pile. Strangely, my boys found it very convenient as the morning progressed and the sun increased in heat to tear off a sleeve and then stretch it over their head as a non-slipping sweat band. More strange is that it became the norm.
And rags. we have piles and piles of rags. We have soft rags for wiping sweat and dirt from our eyes. We even have “special rags” that went to the garden that morning for the higher purpose of keeping a drink or cell phone clean and cool but were then demoted half way through the work of the day to some lesser purpose. We have pretty rags that are tied nicely around my two daughters’ beautiful locks as a scarf to help keep the wind from tangling them into a cluster of un-comb-able lengths. And rags tied around my own hair to… well… protect and to absorb. Again, the point is: no Victorian picturesque garden or gardener here.
The drink from the garden hose is just as uncivilized as my appearance. Still, it is just what I need. It is cold and fresh from the depths of the earth’s reserve; pure and natural without chemical tastes or harshness. And there is no other way to drink it from a hose than to draw it in, filling your whole inner mouth swallow after swallow while the excess runs down your chin and little splashes refresh your hot, dry skin.
Do you remember that childhood drink?
Are you smiling with the remembrances of thirst quenching satisfaction?
So why not drink like that again?
Our lives are torn and tattered. The thistles and snares of the enemy are ripping at our days and wounding our faith. It is hot and the extreme heat of the conditions are scorching our hope and weakening our resolve. The weeds seem to be the only successful thing in the area, and the latest chart to re-organize all the projects is being blown off track before our efforts can take hold. Our hair is tangled, our appearance is un-presentable, definitely uncivilized, for sure. And we do not seem to have the strength to walk to the house, but we are dying of thirst.
Have you looked at the garden of your life lately?
Have you looked at yourself working there in your garden?
Do you need a refreshing drink?
That’s what the Lord meant when He said, “Come and drink.” He longs for us to reach for the source of water that is cool and pure and whose depth is intoxicatingly unlimited. Christ is not just a cool sip of water. And you cannot limit His resources to a bottle. He is the drink of an ever flowing garden hose with the pump handle pulled up in the position of full-blast and the pressure completely running over.
Are you ready? Are you really thirsty?
Are you hot and tired and scorched by the toils of your life?
Are you at the place where you can forget your civilized self and those around you?
Are you ready to tear off your sleeves, wear them on your head and come and drink?
“Come…You will never thirst again”
Rhonda D. Loucks is an author, wife, mother, Sunday School teacher and member of Wichita First Church of the Nazarene. More of her writings are available at uncutobedience.com.