West Tennessee and Western Kentucky are suffering from one of the worst droughts in recent memory. Crops are dying. That means farmers are watching a year’s salary literally burn up. People are falling victim to heat stroke. Yards are going from green to brown to “dirt” in some places.
As of June 25, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, was 15.38 inches of precipitation below normal for the year, Paducah, Kentucky was 13.01 inches behind, and Evansville, Indiana 11.94 inches behind according to the US Drought Monitor.
Unbelievable heat is creating a situation where refreshment is harder to find for everyone, and impossible for a small group of folks.
Authorities are opening relief shelters for folks who don’t have safe places to retreat from the heat.
Heat is oppressive. It drains your strength. It dehydrates living tissue, threatening illness and death. Death is a frequent threat when we experience conditions like those in communities all around us.
Is it any wonder that water is such a prominent image in Scripture? The chaos of creation began as God moved across the waters. Israel passed through water not once, but twice on the way to the Holy Land. Jesus, nurtured in the water of the womb, turned water into wine, washed his disciples’ feet in water, and was baptized in the waters of the Jordan.
And immediately after, he was tempted in the permanent drought of the desert. Drought not unlike the waterless heat that is all around us.
On days like this, Heaven is like the simple act of walking into a safe place where cold air is blowing from every air conditioning vent. Heaven is like a cold drink from a sweating glass, or an ice chip melting down the back of your neck. Heaven is like a shaded seat in the back yard with a cool breeze blowing in an hour or so after the sun goes down.
Days like this remind me that there’s a blessing for those of us who offer a cup of cold water in Jesus name.
You can see people who are suffering in the heat. Can you see the people who are suffering in the God-drought? Offer them the refreshment of Jesus Christ — and a cup of cold water. It’s hot outside.
Author: Joey Reed
Joey is married to his best friend. Together, they have two children and live in Jackson, Tennessee. Joey serves Grace United Methodist Church, the Jackson District, the Memphis Annual Conference, and the world is his parish.