“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)

Recently I had opportunity to drive across several wastelands, some of which were just plain deserts. Vegetation ranged from sparse (with small scrub bushes that occasionally dotted the landscape) to absent, with hills gutted by gullies with little to hold the soil.

Occasionally, I saw a ribbon of trees snaking along a low place in the landscape. When I saw that ribbon of trees, I knew there was water available—a small stream or a low river. In the dry areas, the problem was not the nutrients in the soil, but the absence of moisture. Strong trees would grow and produce their fruit if water were available.

In the southern regions of Palestine, the psalmist saw a similar situation. Some regions are extremely arid. In those areas, occasionally there will be a spring and a pool. Around that pool, there is incredible vegetation, including strong fruit-bearing trees with strong root systems.

In short, there is life in a lifeless landscape. Life exists because there is water. The contrast is incredible—no water, arid; water, life.

Once as Jesus was teaching, he said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37, 38).

Consider what Jesus said to the woman at the well near Sychar in John 4:10, 13, 14, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. ... Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 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.”

Knowing and listening to Jesus is like providing a tree in the desert with water. Knowing Jesus will do more than change what you believe. It will change who you are.

In our American society, people need more than information. While they need information, they also need examples. The person who trusts in God must be like the tree in an arid region growing by the water source. The person who trusts God must be sustained by the living water, Jesus Christ. He or she obviously does not thirst. Instead, he or she is a well springing to eternal life in others.

In a society that mistakes pleasure, money, possessions, power, and influence for life, to have the courage to let Jesus quench the thirst for life is the difference between a scrub bush in an arid region and a tree by a water source. Have the courage to be God’s tree. Have the courage to let Jesus Christ be life to you and a well to others through you.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 8 November 2007

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