Quinn G. Caldwell
"God gives the desolate a home to live in; God leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a parched land." - Psalm 68:6
Look, it's not my fault. It was hot. Really hot. And our two-year-old and I really, really wanted to. And we haven't lived in this house very long, and I don't quite know all the ins and outs of our well and water table. So don't blame me. It was hot.
That's what I said to my partner, anyway, when he went to turn on the water that night and first mud, then nothing, came out of the tap. Evidently, playing in the sprinkler for something like five hours straight'll dry your well right up. Who knew?
The Psalmist says the rebellious will live in a parched land. That might mean God is going to send them there. But I think most of the dry wastelands in which we find ourselves are of our own creation. We live in wastefulness or wantonness or selfishness or just general jerkiness. And then when the good water is used up and our friends have all been driven away and we find ourselves dry and alone, we look around, surprised, and claim it's not our fault.
Luckily, I live in a pretty wet part of the world, and our well refilled itself quickly. Luckier still, we worship a God who pours herself out in streams of living water on the just and the unjust, and nobody who doesn't want to need live in a parched land of their own creation for long.
God, when I have wasted that which I shouldn't and driven away that which I oughtn't, then forgive me, fill up my well again, and teach me a better way (which hopefully will still involve sprinklers). Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is Pastor and Teacher at Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC, in Syracuse, New York, and co-editor, with Curtis J. Preston, of the Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ, published by The Pilgrim Press.