As Carol and I traveled the Interstate Highway recently through Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, we talked about the pioneers who came through this area many years ago. So many things have changed. We covered more miles in an hour than they did in a week. Our ride was on smooth roads in a comfortable car with air conditioning. Theirs was in a wagon – much of the time walking – over dusty prairies.
My mind cannot grasp the reality of what those brave people endured. There is no comparison between what they experienced and what we enjoyed. I am quick to admit that I am not the kind of person it would take to do what they did, and I am humbly grateful for their efforts. What we enjoy today in the Pacific Northwest is the result of what they did.
But what had my attention for hours and miles, and continues to influence me, is the significance that water has played in the development of that region. With water, cultivation and hard work, that dry land covered with sagebrush has become productive; resulting in large farms and ranches. Water is the essential element that makes the difference.
For the pioneers, the focus was on finding sufficient water for humans and livestock. Today it is water that makes possible the livelihood of those who live and work there and the production of food that many people enjoy. Add to that the beauty of the natural landscape and you have an appreciation for the amazing difference made by water.
During the four decades that Carol and I have traveled that route, I do not recall any color but brown covering most of the hills. But our recent trip was different—the hills of Wyoming were green. The time of year and the abundance of winter snow and spring rain gave a new perspective to how we think of that part of the country. Water made the difference.
It is not surprising that Jesus used water to illustrate His power to change lives. To the lady in Samaria who came to find water for survival, He offered Living Water (Gospel of John, Chapter 4). He defined Himself as “living water” and promised her that belief in Him would give her eternal life. Obviously, she wanted what He was offering.
In the part of Planet Earth where I live, there is an abundance of water. It is easy to be careless and wasteful. If you have lived in a situation where water was scarce, you cherish every drop. There are parts of the planet where no fresh water is available at all. I cannot imagine how challenging that would be.
But to be left without the Living Water – Jesus – is the greatest danger of all. He offers to give us a place with Him in heaven where there will never be a lack of pure water. More than barren hills becoming green and productive is the wonder of human lives that once were dry and hopeless becoming full of life, usefulness and joy when the Living Water, Jesus, is trusted. He is powerful Water.