“and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground” Genesis 2:5-6 (NIV)
In this parallel account of creation God seems to be speaking in more specific and concrete terms, a bit more like a scientist leaving notes. The description of the earth being without plants is interesting in that there appears to be land and sea but plants are not yet present. It is also important that God mentions no man to work the ground. This is a different focus than the other creation account in which man appears to be important but in a different way.
Verse 6 is interesting from a scientific perspective as there is an ongoing debate in science about the source of water on earth. Some think it came from the heavens in the form of comets, and others think it might have had its origin in the differentiation of earth in it’s early formation (think about the way oil and water separate because they are different densities). The description “streams came up” conjures for me differentiation or at least liberation from an earth-bound state. It could also be describing a natural spring from which groundwater is emerging. I suppose this could also be describing melting of water bound into the earth as a sort of global permafrost melted. Translations differ on whether the water arose from within the earth or was merely a mist (i.e. water vapor). If it is the later it would sound more consistent with the other creation account description of the onset of the hydrologic cycle on earth (Genesis 1:6-7 (NIV)).
Either way these verses appear to be describing the start of a hydrologic cycle (rain was not occurring yet). This cycle operates to this day to provide water to God’s creation and his people. As I look at the clouds in the sky and the rain which recently fell to nourish the plants and animals I remember that it was God’s idea from the beginning. His provision of a necessary commodity for his creation and his people is an important part of his care for his creation.
Prayer: Thank you God for the clouds, the rain, and the springs of water that emerge from the earth. Help me to remember that you are the provider of spiritual “rain” and springs of living water as well.