We are waterers.
For as longs as humans have been planting crops, we have found ways to water those plants to keep them healthy. In 2013, approximately $2.64 billion was spent on irrigation facilities and equipment on U.S. farms. That doesn’t include the cost of energy to power those systems. In 2015, more than 40% of fresh water use in America was for farm irrigation. But, it’s not just farms we water. At home, lawn watering accounts for about half of household water use for a cumulative use of 7 billion gallons per day. We are waterers.
This is no complaint. All that watering contributes to keeping us all eating well. It also increases oxygen production from plants which keeps us breathing well. And, personally, I’m very fond of both eating and breathing.
But, what about watering people? We make sure our plants are watered because we know they will die without it. Do we understand that about people?
There is a somewhat obscure character in the Bible named Apollos. Among the few things we know about him is what the apostle Paul said describing his role in the growth of Christianity. “I planted the seed,” says Paul, “Apollos watered it, but God made it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
Unfortunately, we don’t have specific information about what exactly Apollos did. Paul provided the initial introduction to the good news of Jesus (the seed). Somehow what Apollos had to say helped that seed to grow in their hearts.
What if we all did that? What if we spent as much time and energy and money on watering people as we spend on watering our plants? My guess is that the people around us would be much healthier and productive.
How do you water people? Well, what waters you? Chances are; you’re much like other people and what helps you flourish would help those around you, too.
Consider some words of wisdom from Proverbs about words. “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (16:24). “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (12:25). “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (25:11). “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land” (25:25).
Sprinkle some encouragement on the people you know. Rain down some optimism and hope on them. Shower them with words that bring life.
The world can be an arid desert. You can be an oasis. The water table is bottomless. There are no restrictions. Be a waterer.