The Watered Garden (Isa. LVIII. 11, Jer. XXXI. 12, With Their Respective Contexts)

The necessity of water to a garden, what florist can doubt? What lively images does this expression, "a yv'atered garden," convey to us! Do we not seem to see every seed springing up just where we planted it in hope? do we not count the newly opened blossoms of our favourite flowers? does not their very fragrance come to us in the moistened air? But if water be thus necessary and beneficial to the garden in our temperate climate, how much more in hotter countries! There, a garden left unwatered would soon become a desert. The provision for watering the garden of Eden was a river (Gen. ii. 10); fountains in Palestine were common in gardens (Cant. iv. 15). We have rain from heaven, and artificial modes of watering; and how careful are we, if the former be deficient, to supply the need by our own labour! We are familiar with these cases. We should blame our gardener or ourselves, if our plants perished for lack of moisture. We should run to fetch the needed refreshment for a drooping favourite. The parched earth of the parterre does not call out in vain for water. When God promises, then, to make the soul as a watered garden, He promises a rich blessing, and one that we shall do well to covet.

In our first quotation, the promise is to those who exchange the mere outside form of religion for the real power of it; and this blessed exchange is made by the working of the Spirit of God in the soul. And how often is that blessed Spirit described in the Scriptures under the figure of water! (See John iii. and iv.) In our second quotation, the promise is made to the gathered flock of the long-scattered Israel, the redeemed and ransomed people of God, who are to be attracted by His goodness to their ancient home, Jerusalem. The promise is, however, applicable to every person truly brought to God from the wanderings of nature.

The Unwatered Garden

We need scarcely describe the wretchedness of the "garden that hath no water." (Isa. i. 30.) It is an emblem of the misery of those who remain in their natural state of transgression - of those who forsake God for some earthly thing, it may be even for their gardens. (See verses 28 and 29).

Let us not go to our daily work or amusement - let us especially not be so inconsistent as to take up occupations that so forcibly remind us of heavenly and most important truths - without most diligently inquiring, whether our souls are as watered or unwatered gardens. If yet, alas! unwatered, there is a free invitation, "Come ye to the waters." (Isa. Iv. 1).