England is a very wet country. We get some rain almost every day. Those of you in the Pacific Northwest can identify with the climate here. The weather here is so variable, that it is the most common theme of conversation. In fact, I dare anyone in England to engage in a conversation with someone without the weather being mentioned!
All this weather talk gets me thinking. Recently, because of a draught here, the government called for a “hosepipe ban”. In other words, if you use your hose to water your garden or wash your car or whatever, you will be charged a fine of £1000! I found this intriguing especially as I am from California and it never rains there. I guess Californians have the luxury of stealing water from neighbors, but when you’re on an island, this becomes more difficult.
Strangely, we have had some extremely heavy rain storms come through causing flooding over the past several weeks. Wondering if I was able to wash my car, I checked to see if the ban was still on. YES! It is still on. Apparently we received too much rain! The water came down in such volume that it all turned into runoff and hardly any had sunk below the surface.
Enough about British weather… It is a wonder to me that people (including myself) who hear lots of Bible teaching can still have a drought in their soul. But the fact of the matter is that it’s not the volume of Bible that we hear, but rather the depth of penetration what we hear has. I can tend to think a person just needs to listen to more Bible studies, which may actually just turn into runoff. I can hear some people at this point say, “Wait, God’s word doesn’t return void, certainly more Bible is better.” Hear me out.
Jesus said we are to “take heed how you hear” (Mark 4:24-25 NKJV). Hearing the word doesn’t profit us if that word is not absorbed. At best, we get wet on the surface, but the soul is still parched. What our people may need is not necessarily more Bible studies, but rather focusing on the heart’s reception of God’s truth to which they are already exposed.
Recently we decided to use the same text from Sunday’s teaching in our home groups. Our desire is to see the same truth that was heard on Sunday absorbed with the help of community. My thinking is that if our people could learn one truth about God well from his word each week and truly absorb that truth, the drought of soul would be replaced by a well-watered garden. Their capacity for intake would increase. We can focus on how that truth teaches us, rebukes us, exhorts us, and helps us walk with Jesus (2Tim 3:16) both as individuals and in community.