The Importance of Water, Part 2

As a beginner gardener, I have a new appreciation for rain.

In the past I haven’t always appreciated the rain. It may have a bit bothersome, or an inconvenience to my present plans. But since starting a garden, the rain is beautiful; a refreshing gift from the bounty of God; an encouragement that helps to keep me going through this Florida heat.

6.5 inches is a big rain for Florida

Rain has become a hopeful and blessed event. It’s arrival raises thankfulness in my heart. I know that rain and my watering are a blessing to the garden. There is no life or growth without water.

The Master Gardener know the importance of His Word (compared many times in Scripture to water).

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Psalm 42:1

A few definitions as we move along. The hart is an adult male deer. To pant is to long for, or to passionately desire. A brook is a small natural stream of water, or a current flowing from  a spring or fountain.

That deer in his movements through the forest or countryside is thirsty and passionately desires the water brooks. God through the psalmist writes “so panteth my soul after thee, O God”

Do I pant after God? What do I pant after? What do I passionately desire? 

Is it the brook? That small, consistent, daily water source that flows from that spring.

Unfortunately, I know that I pant after other things too many times. I pant after connections, notoriety, comfort, maybe even rest. These things are not a substitute for the water brook of God’s Word.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1:2-3

God wants us to seek Him first, today and everyday. Jesus is our Answer to today’s question. He is our Peace, our Joy, our Life.

Drinking from God’s Spring,

Doug

The Importance of Water, Part 1

When I started gardening I thought I understood the importance of water for healthy plants. The truth is I think I severely underestimated how much water plants really need.

Planting seeds is always exciting. When the plants first push through the ground and start growing, that is an energizing and exhilarating thing to be part of! That excitement fuels my care for the seedlings, because watering at this stage seems to bring changes to the plants every day

Poblano pepper seedlings

But soon, the plants reach a stage where they begin to slow down their growth. They are preparing to produce flowers and fruit. This is where my challenge begins.

Okra blossom and fruit

The plants seem healthy and they are doing well. So it’s easy to assume they have all the water they need, and I lose the urgency to water well, because I see no immediate results. Without that necessary water the plants become weak and more susceptible to pests and disease.

The Master Gardener knows our fragility and our need for spiritual water. We are, after all, sinful by our very nature, and by our choice. Jesus told the woman at the well that He could give her a well that springs with everlasting life.

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

John 4:14

Our sin separates us from God. And when we look within ourselves, we feel an emptiness and void that we cannot fill on our own. That emptiness can only be satisfied by Jesus Christ. We receive His everlasting life when we cry out to God, and ask Him to forgive our sin and become our Saviour.

We must take an honest look at our sinfulness and realize that we are not able to make ourselves good enough. We must look to Jesus, the one Who died for our sin, shed His blood, and rose from the dead.

We must choose for ourselves. We must step out by faith alone and call on Jesus personally. Then we can have that well that springs up to everlasting life.

Strawberries, dill and basil in the Green Stalk

Drinking from the Spring,

Doug

Fifty

Fifty
by Alesha Conklin, saved July 2, 1972

For fifty years, my God has carried me.
For fifty years, He’s held me so close.
For fifty years, my needs He has provided.
For fifty years, He’s spoken to my soul.

For fifty years, my heart has been His habitation.
For fifty years, He’s guided day by day.
For fifty years, I have been forgiven.
For fifty years, His best for me, come what may.

For fifty years, His Word has spoken to me.
For fifty years, my soul has been at rest.
For fifty years, my home has been in Heaven.
For fifty years, His blood has been my forgiveness.

For fifty years, His love has never wavered.
Even through days when mine has grown cold.
For fifty years, I’ve loved to tell of His salvation.
For fifty years, the story has never grown old.

Information Gathering

We started gardening, in earnest, in February of 2021. Because we’ve been doing this just a little over a year, now, we are still learning so many things.

We learning that radishes aren’t a food we enjoy, ginger grows really well in our soil mixture, oregano is happy, happy when crowd-grown in a 5-gallon bucket, and we love fresh black eyed peas.

We also find ourselves researching different plants, trees and vegetables that we’ve never heard of until this last year: chayote, cassava, jicama, strawberry tree, chaya, cucuzzi gourd, and Spanish hog plum.

Jicama

This month, I’ve looked up “how to harvest echinacea”, “how to clean jars for canning”, “190* Celsius to Fahrenheit”, “how to can potatoes” and “how does chicory grow”, just to name a few.

Chicory on a trellis

It’s so great to have search engines and web sites to find the information that we need on any given subject. It’s fast and easy to find almost anything on the interwebz these days.

You know, life has a lot of unknowns, too. Every day of our life, we experience situations, emotions and troubles that we’ve never dealt with before.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a search engine to find all the answers we need for every question in life?!

We do have that Source of answers! It’s the Bible!

But you have to know that it works a little differently than Google.

You can’t just run to the index to figure out how to deal with a back-stabbing friend. And the word “vaping” doesn’t appear in the King James Bible. And where do we go to read instructions on budgeting or construction?

[9] Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
[10] But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.

Psalm 41:9-10

Interestingly enough, the Bible does speak to these subjects. But sometimes it’s hard to nail down the exact verse that you need.

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

I Corinthians 6:12

That’s why it’s so important to just read the Word. Every day, multiple times a day, spend time just soaking up the words that God left here for us.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Luke 14:28

And don’t just read. Pray! Ask the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead you to the right verses and open your eyes to the answers that the Lord has for you.

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Proverbs 22:7

And lastly, don’t give up! Keep reading. Keep studying. Keep digging into the Words of God, looking for your answers.

The Bible isn’t a search engine, as we think of it today. But it does have the answer to every question we have in this life.

When you don’t know, read until the Lord gives you the answer.

Finding out everything I need to know,

Alesha Kay

Life and Death in the Garden

Hebrews 11:13-16

Right now, our entire croft is a sea of green. Everything is growing and the garden is full of life and beauty. This is the prime time for growth here in Florida, when the rainy season begins and all the plants start to do really well.

Cuccuzi Edible Gourd

However, if you know how to read the subtle signs, you’ll also see that the heat is beginning to get the best of some of the plants, they are getting brown leaf-edges and their leaves are curling in response to the near-100* temperatures that they’re enduring. In the deep South, death often comes right on the heels of life in the croft.

Purple Hull Peas and Moon and Stars Melons

We see this process even in the early spring as we start sowing seeds. We drop each little seed down into the soil and wait for it to die. It literally cracks wide open in death as life emerges from the seed pod.

Life to Death to Life to Death.

This is the cycle of the garden croft. It is unavoidable.

As I’ve watched this cycle run its course in our organic garden these last several months, I’ve noticed something.

The closer a plant is to dying, the harder it works. It puts out more fruit. It goes to seed. It does everything it can to duplicate itself before its season of growing is finished.

Echinacea blooms

Maybe you feel like your season of blooming is over. You’re weary of the passing of the seasons and you feel it’s time for other plants to take over and flourish in your area.

If that’s the case, I encourage you to do everything you can to duplicate yourself. Witness. Share the Word. Give your testimony. Talk about God’s work in your life. Invite people to church with you. Help someone who is struggling to see how God met your need. Write down your memoirs. Tell your friends your story of how God rescued you from sin.

Even an aging plant has a purpose in the garden. It’s how the seeds are created for the new life that is to come.

Painted Mountain Corn in a mulch of oak leaves

And, come to think of it, even in death, a plant can continue to benefit the garden. Most crofters today use dead plant material in their compost bins, or they just chop and drop the dying plant material right there in the bed to continue to nurture the soil as it decomposes.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Hebrews 11:13-16

Our entire Christian life – from second birth to death – has a purpose larger than ourselves. The beauty and life that we bring, the fruit we bear, the seeds we sow, the testimony of our life for Christ continues long after we are gone.

The souls we led to Christ go on to bring other people to Him. The stories of our testimony encourage and comfort others.

Your life in the garden is vital. Make sure yours tells the story of your great Saviour.

Alive in the Croft,

Alesha Kay

The Master Gardener’s Provision for the Croft

When God planted the garden of Eden, He provided something that is still very important to every garden today. He provided a source of water.

And a river went out of Eden to water the garden…

Genesis 2:10

God provided a constant source of water for everything planted there in Eden. Water is crucial for all garden life.

  • Water nourishes the cells of the plants in the garden. Plants are 80-90% water. They need water – quite literally – to hold them up. Without it, they would just lay on the soil, where they’d be susceptible to disease and rot and pests.
  • Water helps plants regulate their temperature. They tend to remain too hot or too cold for too long without water.
  • Water carries nutrients from the soil to the plants. All those microorganisms and elemental nutrients that are needed to grow the plant are carried to it by the water coursing through the soil.
  • Water can remove contaminants and pests. Blasting detrimental bugs off a garden plant is one of the best ways to get rid of them.
  • Water is necessary for photosynthesis. Plants use water, combined with the light from the sun to create the energy they need to grow and reproduce.

Scripture tells us that Water is crucial for all spiritual life, too.

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11

The Word of God is our source of spiritual Water:

  • God’s Word nourishes us. It helps us remain upright in character and morality.
  • Reading our Bibles keeps us from being too hot – critical of others – and too cold – uncaring about others.
  • Studying the Scriptures brings us instruction, guidance, good doctrine and direction – the “nutrients” that will help us to grow as Christians.
  • The Word of the Lord washes out harmful thoughts, sinful desires and selfish tendencies that will harm us and keep us from becoming the Christian God wants us to be.
  • We must have the Words of the Bible flowing through our hearts and minds to grow as a Christ-follower and lead others to Him.

The gardening experts tell us the best time to water the garden is in the morning, before the heat of the day exhausts the plants and before the pests wake up to do their damage in the croft.

It’s a good practice to get the Word of God washing through your heart every morning. Before the day begins to rush forward, before the demands of others begin to pluck on our nerves – this is when we should be soaking our souls in His Bible, gaining the spiritual nutrients we need for the day ahead.

How well are you watering the Garden of your Heart?

If you’re feeling a bit weak or parched, attacked or stagnant, get your feet wet in the Water of His Word today.

Crofting for Him,

Alesha Kay