Maybe not for an Oregonian who experiences plentiful rainfall and lush green and fruitful produce from it, but for a Middle Easterner who lives in or on the edge of a desert, rain is as precious as gold. Israel is one of those places that is partly desert but gets some rain especially in the northern parts like the Galilee area where Jesus was born.
Isaiah 55:10-11 says
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Is that not an awesome image? You can almost see the water from rain or snow covering, softening and seeping deep down into the dry, hard, sun-parched dirt, making it capable of nourishing plants and vines and causing life to spring up where there was nothing. Things that were brown and crinkly become green and supple, producing grain and produce and flowers and trees and fruits and vegetables and grass…. like a garden, kind of like The Garden we read about in Genesis 1.
Isaiah tells us that God’s word to us has that same effect on our souls as water does to dry land. Without tending and caring for our souls, they become parched and brittle, drooping. But when God speaks to us there is renewal, revival, nourishment…you might call it blessing, you might call it shalom.
I need God’s word daily. Some days I give that more time than other days. Some days I get busy and don’t listen for it at all. And if I go too long I start to feel dry, ill at ease, unfruitful, unable to function well.
Jesus, in quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, said we don’t live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Father. Lord, help us hear! And thank you for the rain and snow that restores our souls! And isn’t it interesting that Jesus came from the one region of the Middle East that benefits from fairly regular rain and snowfall? He is the Word! And He is the Bread of Life!
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.