Two things were important to Israel in the desert: obedience and water. The two come together in God’s words to Jeremiah, words he was to direct to the nation.
Water was important to the nation because they were a herding people and herds need water. In their wandering, they were always looking for areas blessed by even a little rain. Obedience to God was important because they were a nation on a mission to bring a Saviour into the world. Their history is full of periods of obedience to God and then periods where they followed their own whims.
There is a metaphor in God’s words to Jeremiah and it is a strong one. Israel is chided for having abandoned God; indeed, even their being in the land is now deemed an abomination. Instead of being in a land of abundant rainfall, their relationship with God is as the emptiness of a desert where they are making futile attempts to catch rain in cisterns that would not hold rain even if it did come.
Is our relationship with God a desert or are we in a fertile landscape? Are we watered by the rain of Word and Sacrament or have we scooped out leaky cisterns for ourselves?
O God, help us see you as rain in the desert of our lives. Amen. — AEA