The Well-Watered Garden
When is the best time to water your plants?
We had a neighbor who used to come home from work, light up a smoke and water her lawn. It might not have been the most effective watering time or method, but you could tell she really enjoyed it.
And who can argue that we do what we enjoy?
So I say, the best time to water your plants is now. I will share some practical info in this post, but as with most things in life: the time to act is when you can - not wait until all the conditions are just right.
I like to think that water is to plants what God's word is to our faith. Can we get by a day or two - a week or two? Sure, but we're going to get a little wilted.
The Bible talks about the growing need in a believer's life for God's word, comparing it to milk (when we're young and need a consistent, small supply) verses meat (when we mature and can digest a heavier dose). This is very much like watering a plant.
The younger, more tender a plant, the greater the need for a steady supply of moisture. If you are trying to germinate seeds - flower, grass, vegetable - a daily drink is critical. (Now weeds are a different story, but don't get me started.)
As a plant gets established, the need for water changes too. Once the first set of leaflets drop away and the real leaves start flourishing, the roots now prefer a deeper drink. If the watering remains shallow, so does the root system.
In developing our faith this holds true as well. If we merely splash ourselves with a little bit of God, it's like watering the leaves of a plant - looks nice, but evaporates quickly when the heat comes. It's not until our energy is sapped that we recognize the roots are thirsty.
With a plant, you can dig down a few inches near the soil surface to test if it needs water. In my own life, dryness usually looks like impatience or lack of joy and motivation. With practice and attention, I can learn to recognize these symptoms before my spirit runs dry.
Perhaps like plants, we would do well to water in the morning and give the roots a thorough soaking before the stresses of the day hit. In the yard and in our day, we can help retain that life-sustaining nourishment by dressing the plant with mulch - to hold in the moisture.
Finally, there comes a time when the LORD impresses on our soul that it's time for a deep drink. This is a good thing. The leaflets of hearing and reading scripture may be replaced by studying it and memorizing it. The first leaves of attending church may be ready to grow into serving there. God's word, like rain, does not return to him empty. It tells us in Isaiah 55:11 "My word...will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
With the dog-days of summer upon us and world events 'heating' up, I want to encourage all of to soak a little deeper now.
Have you established a time to meet with God - daily? If not, what is something you could do to look forward to that time?
Maybe it's time to 'mulch' - what might that look like in your day? Listening to encouraging music...having a coffee break with Jesus...praying for friends while you garden, fold laundry, drive to and from work?
Perhaps you are feeling the nudge; is it time to water deeper?
"And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday.
And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy the desire of your scorched places,
and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a well-watered garden,
and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail." Isaiah 58:10 - 11