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  • janetmchenry

Quenching my Thirst

I live in the largest alpine valley in North America: the Sierra Valley.

At about 5,000 feet in elevation, the Sierra Valley is surrounded by mountains ranging in elevation from 6,000 to 8,000 feet. The valley is about 120,000 acres of cattle ranch land–pastures and planted fields of various kinds of hay.

We live about an hour north of Lake Tahoe, and I tell people that our valley is just like Tahoe–except without all the water. Actually, the valley floor is filled with sediment up to two thousand feet thick, with average annual rainfall less than twenty inches, most falling as snow.

Sierra Booster photo A few creeks run into our valley, meeting at the northwest corner to form the headwaters of the Feather River Middle Fork. While the wetlands areas that attract hundreds of kinds of birds have shrunk quite a bit this year due to lower precipitation, somehow the creeks still flow and the river keeps falling into the canyon that leads to Lake Oroville, which conserves water for distribution by the State Water Project to homes, farms, and industries in the San Francisco Bay area, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. California’s ranches, farms, homes, and businesses need water.

But, you know, our hearts and souls need watering as well. If I don’t daily open up my Bible and read a good chunk and then look it over again and think on it some more, eventually creating this meditative meme you see daily, I would dry up. I see that sometimes when I’ve planned for a long trip–many days to a week or more. In preparation for such a trip I do all that reading and thinking and meme-prepping in advance–scheduling the releases on various social media platforms. That means that I’m “free” for the trip. The work has been done.

However, what I’ve noticed is that when I go days or a week without truly drinking of that daily refreshment that reading the Bible gives me, I get dry. Thirsty dry. And crabby and critical and even worrisome.

When Jesus went to Jerusalem and saw the religious leaders arguing about various legal technicalities of the law, he must have noticed the bystanders wondering . . . is this it? Is religion reduced to technicalities? Is there no life-giving refreshment? Is our God one who whacks us when we don’t tow the line to exaction?

And Jesus stood up and said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” You see, he knew that arguments over biblical law would never guide others to refreshment. He understood that his Heavenly Father had given the law so they understood his love and guidance and care for them. Love God. Love people.

Jesus came to bring us life–both in heaven and on earth.

A final question: How are you filling your thirst?

The author of 24 books, Janet McHenry has lived in the Sierra Valley for nearly forty years. She and her rancher husband Craig raised their four kids there and love nothing more when everyone is home, including their ten grandchildren. She would love to connect with you:

Note: Some info taken from Sierra County Historical Society entry in Wikipedia and California Department of Parks and Recreation web pages.

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