God’s Watering Can
Author: Susan Rose
I am so intrigued by the enormous spectrum of human willingness or resistance to notice and honor the Divine. And there are so many ways in which God nourishes the growth of individual people. In fact, sometimes the individuals are not willing at all, but God persists. Take Saul of Tarsus, as an example. He passionately persecuted the followers of Jesus, and then, completely unexpectedly, and with enormous force, God threw him on the ground and essentially knocked some sense into him. For Saul/Paul, conversion was like being hit with a fire hose. Most of us don’t have an experience that is so unarguable.
And for Jonah, God extended an invitation and a request that Jonah spread the message of redemption and repentance. Jonah was terrified, horrified, said no, and ran away. So God chased him even into the ocean, into the belly of a whale, and Jonah finally took on the job required of him. When God approached Moses, asking him to become the agent for the delivery of the Jews from Egypt, Moses resisted, and pointed out to God that he was unsuitable because he was a stutterer and “of uncircumcised lips, how then shall Pharaoh listen to me?” (Exodus 6:30). But God didn’t back off, and told Moses that his brother Aaron could be in on the project. They could get it done together.
Mary, mother of Jesus, was quite different from the above-mentioned reluctant servants of the Lord. From the first, she said to the angel messenger, “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38). I never have had a faith so profound and accepting. Yet over many decades, God has gently coaxed me into a faith that I take seriously. I was raised in a spiritual and religious desert. So God fashioned a spiritual watering can, and sprinkled me for decades. And I suppose I was often wearing a raincoat and carrying an umbrella. Maybe it was more than a sprinkle from God.
It took a long time for me to notice. Over time, my dry rationalism softened and grew moist. Sprouts of wonder turned green and broke through the surface. Bulbs of reverence buried deep inside came to life and flowered. My spiritual landscape took on color and vibrancy. Sometimes there are dry spells, when the experience of God is more a memory than a current living reality, but then God waters me again with holy awareness and faith blooms anew. Hallelujah!