What a summer! In the last few weeks we have experienced unprecedented temperatures, at times reaching 36°, last encountered back in 1976. Though some of us have welcomed the warm weather, there are those of us who have found the extreme heat unbearable at times, myself included. Following this long period of dry weather, it was pleasing to see the return of the rain which cooled the temperatures and gave our gardens a well needed water.
We have seen in the news that England has been parched by the constant heat, turning our land into straw; this has resulted in wild fires, thus destroying landscape and wildlife even further. The increase in the consumption of carbonated drinks saw a warning about carbon dioxide being in short supply, which impacted on food packaging where it is required. But this has not stopped there, for the extreme climate has also had an impact on our agricultural community.
As we enter this time of harvest, preparing for our services and collecting produce for those in great need, we need to pause and think about those who provide the food for our needs and make available items which we can readily purchase from supermarkets. It is easy to forget the link between what we purchase and those who supply it. Because of the parched land, the planting of new crops will also compound the problem for next year’s harvest and so the cycle continues.
This situation made me think about the encounter that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well. In the scripture passage we find Jesus’ human vulnerability exposed. He was tired after a long dusty journey where he was hungry and thirsty. However, Jesus in his conversation with the woman speaks of a gift that comes from God that could sustain her for all eternity. We read in the gospel of John where Jesus says; “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” John 4:10. The phrase living water that Jesus refers to speaks of the Holy Spirit that dwells in all believers and seals them for salvation Ephesian 1:13-14. It is the ministry of the spirit, that blesses all believers and it is through them that the light and life of Christ is brought to the world. It’s this spiritual harvest which is the result of God’s work in the heart of all people. This is clearly exhibited in the parable of the seed and the sower, where some people’s hearts are good soil, when the word of God is sown. Luke8:9-15.
It is easy to take for granted those things that feed our physical needs. But have we taken for granted those spiritual gifts that were given unconditionally to each one of us through the cross? Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” Matthew 9:37-38. God will use us in his fields, each according to our gifts and the need of the moment, as we trust him. Are we ready and willing to “follow the way”?