At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. But a man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As the water of a lake dries up or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so he lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, people will not awake or be roused from their sleep. – Job 14:7-12
Does water have a smell? It seems like we humans have mostly lost our ability to smell water, at least in areas where water is abundant like where I am from. I just spent several hours flying over the Sahara Desert and I can attest it is a very waterless place….no green…no flowing water. I suspect the people of this desert can in fact smell water….assuming there are people who inhabit this desert.
In many ways we are desert people thirsting for spiritual living water. This makes me wonder if we can “smell” spiritual living water? Can we sense the spirit of God from a distance? I wonder if we suffer from the same problem as people who live surrounded by water..Jesus said I am in you and you are in me (John 14:20)….perhaps being surrounded by living water has made us lose our ability to send our roots toward water and “bud”.
The passage turns a bit bleak as Job describes dying as like a lake or river bed drying up. That is an interesting choice of water metaphors. Lakes and rivers dry up when the source of their recharge is reduced or disappears. It seems that job feels he is disconnected from the spring and far from the One River. This end is very different than the “pouring out” or crossing over referred to earlier in the bible. I prefer the imagery of pouring out to drying up.
Prayer: God You are the source of living water. May we always know its scent.