Not So Smart Early Birds

“She rises before dawn . . . ” has never been my favorite Bible verse.  Don’t get me wrong; there have been plenty of days in which I have done so in order to get to school, sign in, and get to class before the 7:30 bell.  However, every single day of that routine I said that once I no longer had to rise before dawn, I certainly would not. 

Funny . . . this morning, just as daylight was peeping over the eastern horizon, I woke up, surprisingly alert.  And “she rises before dawn” was my first thought of the day, oddly enough.  The coffeepot (set for six) had not even clicked on, for goodness’ sake!  I flipped its switch, fed the cat, and returned to the kitchen to wait for the brew.  I would take it out on the deck.  Surely the temp outside would not be so high this early in the day.  I was wrong.

I had thought about taking my Bible out there with me, but I had not taken a moment to go get it from its spot on the sofa where I had left it a couple of days ago.  Sadly, I had allowed my “quiet time” to be disrupted by the fact that the upstairs a.c. unit was not cooling properly.  I had brought my Bible, my prayer journal, and My Utmost for His Highest downstairs.  But I was thrown off by my inability to read in my “serenity space.”  I had read a few devotions and jotted a few prayer requests, but the Bible remained unopened.

Whew!  Whatever I wanted to do outside today — walking, weeding, watering — would have to be done soon — before 8:00 a.m.  definitely!  Already feeling oppressed by the heat and the prediction of triple-digit temps, I began to ponder how “out-of-sorts” I had been feeling.  Disgruntled, distracted . . . just plain dry.  Was it the weather?  Must be.  What else could it be?

Looking out over the back yard, I noticed the birds, one in particular.  He was sitting on the cable that delivers distraction to our house, and his little beak was open.  He looked thirsty.  Poor birds.  Where were they getting water?  The babbling brook (drainage ditch) behind our house was bone-dry.  I heard them chirping and saw them flitting about.  They were surviving, but they had to be in need of a drink of water.  I would fix that! 

The birdbath stood empty.  If I provided a little source of refreshment, the birds would most certainly be grateful.   Full of the milk of human kindness, I grabbed the empty “two percent” gallon jug, filled it with cool tap water from the kitchen, and poured it into the birdbath, up to the brim.  There!  That would give them what they needed on this hot, dry morning.

Watching from the deck, I waited to see which one would come first to the life-giving water I had provided.  For about forty-five minutes, I observed as I sipped my coffee.  There they were, flitting from one back yard to another, swooping down to see if there was a drop on a blade of grass, swinging on the wires open-mouthed as if they thought they could suck the humidity right out of the air, or sitting on the fence, just inches away from the water.

A robin looked at the birdbath but did not partake; a cardinal made him move so he could sit in that spot and look at the ground below him; and a bluejay was squaring off with a squirrel in the neighbor’s tree.

There was the water — cool, refreshing, and free — but there were no takers.

“Hmm . . .” I thought, “I guess these silly early birds are just so busy getting the worm that they are ignoring the water.”

They were paying no attention at all to the water I had so lovingly and eagerly provided for them.  The water that would refresh, renew, and rejuvenate.   The water that would give them strength.  If only they would just . . . come. 

Not one of them even came near it.  I was disappointed.

I thought birds were smarter than that.  

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37b).


About Jan Hamlett

Exploring faith outside the safety of Sunday
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