“The generous soul will be made rich,

And he who waters will also be watered himself.”

~ Proverbs 11:25 ~

Watering is time-consuming, and it can be expensive. It can seem like a waste, quite frankly. However, there’s something refreshing about the healthy green of a yard, feeling the soft grass under my feet instead of the brittle, prickly spears it turns into when left to bake in the sun without a little sprinkle to quench its thirst.

Leaving the sprinkler on to water the yard and the garden doubles my monthly payment to the city, yes, but it also means that throughout the day, when I look out the window, I see little birds bathing together and refreshing themselves under the cool showers. And when I look to the neighbors’ yards around me, no birds are frolicking there. I know how good it is to stand in the shower and wash the grime away–my little sprinkler, in my little yard, provides the same delightful provision for other creatures of God, and I’m happy to do it.

In becoming a waterer of all things green, I have come to understand the watering schedules of my plants, indoors and out. Not all plants have the same needs–some need continual, regular watering or they start wilting and dropping leaves. Some, like my geraniums, want their soil to dry inbetween waterings, whereas the rhododendron needs regular deep watering, soaking the ground to the root ball. My hollyhocks, on the other hand, like it dry. Too much water, and they die.

Every plant has its own needs.

People, too.

Some require vigilant, regular care in order to thrive. Others resist those same higher-maintenance conditions, preferring, instead to be left alone more often. But here’s the thing, every person needs nurture.  Every relationship needs watering and care, and even as summer often means taking out the hose almost daily, people also have seasons where they need more attention. It’s hard to know, sometimes, when and how much water to give, but give it, I must. And if I’m not intentional and don’t remind myself of the benefits of watering, I may be tempted to hang up the hose and say it’s just too expensive. It takes too much time. Let someone else do it. Who cares if the grass gets brown? Other people let their yards go, why can’t I? They don’t water my grass; why should I water theirs! (I think you know what I mean.)

But here’s what God’s Word says to me: Sure, Amanda, you can be stingy. You can turn off the hose. You can spend your time and efforts on other things, even worthy things, but if you give, if you refresh others, you will, in turn, be refreshed. Find out what others need. Spend the time, have the conversations, go for the coffee, write that letter, send those flowers, take the trip, make the call, keep praying, keep watering, keep your heart open. Don’t turn the hose off, and you will be blessed.

And I’ve found it to be true. Some relationships are harder to maintain than others, but it’s still true. Watering makes a difference and leads to blessing. When I compare the relationships I regularly nurture to those that I kind of let go, the differences are stark. Conversations are less forced, the atmosphere around us has an ease about it, laughter comes quicker and easier, I don’t have to explain myself as much, breathing is more natural. I enjoy a level of reciprocity that my dry relationships don’t have.

I can see this even with my husband and my kids. When we let the soil of our souls get too dry–running too much, spending too much time with technology instead of each other, eating in front of the TV instead of at the dinner table, having too many friends over for too many days in a row–it becomes easier to yell, we get snippier and snarkier, we begin drawing lines and claiming things for ourselves instead of sharing, we hurt each other’s feelings. We turn sharp and brittle instead of being soft and flexible. When we stay home, sit close, listen to each other and take time to look into each other’s eyes, life works better. When we tickle and hug and follow each other from room to room, just being together, the difference is palpable. We’re perkier, happier, healthier. Watering the lives of those I love by honoring them–accepting their presence and their thoughts and their ideas and their uniqueness, being present alongside them–rewards each of us in this family a billion times over.  IT. IS. WORTH. IT.

Watering may be expensive and it may be time consuming, but the rewards far outweigh the costs. When we nurture, we are ourselves nurtured, and that’s good news.

I want to keep my hose open, and water, water everywhere! I want to become a more generous nurturer, how about you?

Let’s water the world (or at least our little corners of it) and see the beauty of life springing forth! Go, Water!

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