My wife and I took some time this morning to water our ‘urban farm’ where young fruit trees grow roots deep into the ground and carrots push their orange tops above the soil line. I was reminded of the majesty of rain and how much less work it is for us when God’s irrigation system nourishes our plants. It’s easy to take water for granted until the earth cracks and life around us is parched. We have had a good summer here in the Bluegrass of Kentucky with regular storms to keep things growing while also experiencing very little of the flooding that quickly drowns life out of the soil. The more hours I spend in the garden, the more I appreciate this life-giving balance of just enough water but not too much. What an incredible gift from the Creator!
But it is not all good news around our magnificent planet. In the last 12 months, we have seen historic droughts (and flooding) in so many places around the world. Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan had their wheat crops destroyed by sustained drought. Australia, which is an arid continent at the best of times, is still badly affected by a record drought spanning much of the early 2000’s. Closer to home, Texas just experienced its driest 12 months on record (ending in July).
While we may not be able to enact grand plans to prevent this kind of global devastation, there is one thing we can all do. Each and every day we can make a difference by simply paying attention to the way we use water. As we become aware that water is a gift from the Creator, we will change our wasteful habits and we will be formed into the proper stewards we were made to be. Here are a few things we do in our home to foster this kind of awareness:
- Capture water in rain-barrels for the garden…you can even just put out containers when it rains to water your house plants.
- Place a tub in your sink to wash dishes…you don’t need a whole sink full of water to wash the dishes!
- Keep the faucet off while brushing your teeth…this has been a tough habit for us to break but it will save you gallons of water each week.
- Use a Bucket to capture “grey water” in the shower…our family and friends in Australia habitually place a bucket in the shower that catches water for the garden or lawn.
These practices help conserve a precious resource. They also form us as disciples of Jesus and lovers of this blessed earth. Next time you turn on a faucet, I encourage you to say a prayer of thanks for the precious gift of water.
Geoff Maddock makes his home with his wife, Sherry and 8-year-old son, Isaac in downtown Lexington, KY. He is a missionary in his neighborhood and serves on the board of Seedleaf (www.seedleaf.org ) while also working part-time for Blessed Earth.