, Muskogee, OK

December 5, 2012

A drainage ditch can teach a good Bible lesson

Barrett Vanlandingham
Fort Faith

— The drainage ditch that runs across the middle school lawn in Fort Gibson has never really held any special significance for me. But because of the changing of the seasons I could not help but notice how lush and green the grass was on both of its banks.

The color was accentuated even more because the grass even a few feet away was already dormant, yellow, having lost its green color. The contrast was so stark, I even took a picture of it when I picked my son up from school. There is a well-known Bible passage from the book of Psalms that describes the man who stays close to God, away from wicked lifestyles, and instead delights in the law of the Lord day and night.

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers (Psalm 1:1-3, ESV).” When there’s plenty of rain, the school lawn looks green whether it is close to the stream, or not. But in the winter season or in times of drought, any sight of green grass makes it obvious where the ground is retaining water. Christians are a lot like the green grass by streams of water. A lot of times, we feel spiritually strong when we have a lot of success, and things around us seem to be doing well. But when life throws challenges in our direction, it’s almost like the green field around us turns yellow and dormant. Only then do we really find out the importance of being planted firmly in the Lord, our spiritual stream of water. During a feast, Jesus stood and said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him (John 7:37-38).”

In the very next verse, the writer, John, says Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit as the streams of living water that people would later receive who believed in Jesus. Today, we can be planted by those same streams of living water, just like Christians were 2000 years ago. God’s Spirit makes his home inside of us when we repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). But just like the grass by the drainage ditch that stays green even when the rest of the grass has yellowed, Christians must choose to stay close to the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25) if we are to survive times of spiritual drought. Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or