God Among Us: Drop Down Dew

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The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people.
Zechariah 8:12

Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
    hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching fall like rain
    and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
    like abundant rain on tender plants.
Deuteronomy 32:1-2

 

He hath abolished the old drouth,
And rivers run where all was dry,
The field is sopp’d with merciful dew.
The words are old, the purport new,
And taught my lips to quote this word
That I shall live, I shall not die…
~Gerard Manley Hopkins

 

We are God’s people, wandering homeless in the desert for years before being allowed to enter the Promised Land.  To us, there is great hope in the possibility of moisture coming from heaven as the bountiful gift Moses describes in an analogy for his words and teaching.   The dew of heaven becomes the representation of God’s all-encompassing Spirit and gift of grace in this and other Old Testament scripture passages.

Ultimately, God’s Word descended like dew from heaven in the form of a newborn baby in a manger come to dwell among us.   Like dew, He becomes flesh at no cost to us, to be among us freely, coming in the night, into the darkness, as a gentle covering of all things dry and dying, to refresh, to restore, to soften, to make what was withered fruitful once again.  We live again because of this Word of flesh quickening within us.  EPG

 

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Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Latin lyrics:

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Advent Sings: Spring Up, O Well

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

16 From there they continued on to Beer, the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together and I will give them water.”
17 Then Israel sang this song:
“Spring up, O well!

    Sing about it,
18 about the well that the princes dug,
    that the nobles of the people sank—
    the nobles with scepters and staffs.”
Numbers 21: 16-18

Like the homeless Israelites of the wilderness years, we are prone to grumble as we wander through life.  Despite our many struggles, we are provided with what is needed when it is needed, day to day, to live.  In Numbers, ancient Israel sang of the wellspring of water that seemed to appear in the desert, no matter where they were,  in answer to their desperate pleading.    The wells of the ancients provided for their bodily needs, through God’s provision of water to the parched.

So too we are surrounded in the desert of modern society, desperately thirsty and needy for something, anything that will sustain us.  Our groanings and grumblings are answered, overflowing:

“The poor and needy search for water,
    but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
    and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
    and the parched ground into springs.
Isaiah 41: 17-18

The deepest well of all was born that night in Bethlehem, producing an endless stream of life flowing through the dry and dying landscape of human suffering and sin.   It was as if he had sprung up from the desert, miraculously appearing when desperately needed by the people.

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
John 4: 10-15

Jesus asked the Samaritan woman for a drink at the well although he was the deep wellspring himself.    He dwells with us and like us,  needing the basics of water that can never truly satisfy.  He knows our body’s thirst as he feels just as we do.  Yet in responding to his bodily thirst,  we are engaged as never before, finding in him the quenching of our spiritual thirst.

Though Jesus needed nurturing and provision while on earth–as a helpless and hungry infant dependent on his parents, as a wandering teacher in the desert thirsty from the long hot miles, and hanging from the cross suffering from thirst and asking from relief–he is the deepest well from which we can possibly draw.

Let us sing of it this Advent.