I should be at your wedding this week, but I won’t be. We haven’t met in person, though I’ve prayed for and celebrated you. I’m excited for you, and though I won’t be present to hear your vows, I have something I need to share with you. Maybe it’s the health issues we’re facing, the physical fatigue, the new challenges and people, or the miles. Maybe it’s all of that simmering in a hot house for week 2 of no air conditioning in temperatures hovering around 100. Or maybe it’s just the daily reminder of one thing impacting all of it. I must tell you this one thing in this, your wedding week.
While these things were brewing in our sweltering house and my heavy heart, we celebrated our 26th anniversary. It seems like a short time ago I was you, marking final days before our wedding, wondering how life would change. I could’ve never foreseen the waves of change or destinations on our journey. Never did I expect to mark our 26th anniversary in the desert, but it’s here where I constantly see one thing: Water is the difference between life and death.
As you promise to be faithful in sickness and health, rich or poor, you can’t begin to know what sickness or poverty will be. In that, you are like every bride before and to come. Like me. While circumstances are sometimes hard and heavy, they do not define you as a wife. Your problems and preferences have nothing to do with the outcome of “to death do us part” or “they lived happily every after.” It’s all about water.
From the window where God planted us now, I look out on barren hills where bunch grass and scrub sage survive. Desert. My ride to work is desolate. On good days, hot winds blow tan fields of hay. White windmills pretend to be people on brown rimrock ridges, and tumbleweeds populate roadsides. Sometimes I think I’m living someone else’s life. It’s harsh and barren with no water. Even a day of dryness opens the door for destruction and death.
One day of dryness leads to another, and that’s a fruitless path to follow. In your heart, vow this: I will never live a dry day. I will water my heart to have a fruitful marriage.
We thirst for water in dry places. No one is fruitful without regular watering. Nothing grows without life giving living water. Nothing “new” takes its place. Not far from desolation, there are rows and rows of thick grape vines with clusters of full, juicy grapes. Trees crowded with cherries and apricots, peaches and apples blow in desert wind, defying dryness trying to creep back in. Dryness is never far away, dear Bride-to-be. If the water stops, the fruit stops.
Dry brides can live alongside thriving brides. Be careful not to take on dry habits of fruitless friend beside you. I see it every day in the surrounding landscape. Do you? The only difference is that one is watered and one is not. Both encounter circumstances like sun, wind, cold, and frost. One is destined for harvesting destruction and one is destined for a harvesting fruit and bounty. Only water makes the difference, creating a dry wife or a thriving wife.
As a follower of Jesus, the Living Water quenching you will flow from you to others, (John 7:38). You need living water to fulfill the vows you make; you can’t keep your promises fully without being well watered. I’ve learned this from experience. When I’m dry, I’m dangerous. Staying well watered makes you a peaceful wife in miserable times.
So many things can distract us from being a fruitful wife: ambition, opinions, comparison, circumstances, disappointment, pain. Refuse to dry up, dear Bride-to-be. Commit to being “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields [her] fruit in [her] season,” and do not wither. (Psalm 1) Even when hardship hits a well watered vine, it can endure. Determine to drink in God’s truth and be quenched by His presence daily.
I wonder where you’ll be on your 26th anniversary. We were in a borrowed room at the end of a challenging day. Married life is like that sometimes. But may those days bring you closer. May they make you thirst together. May you drink daily of the Living Water we so desperately need to be fruitful. Only water makes the difference.
As you grow into the wife you are meant to be, I’m using this truth to pray for you, dear Bride-to-be: “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house.” (Psalm 128:3a)
Peaceful journey to you,